Are you managing a virtual project team and facing difficulties? You need to learn The biggest challenge to managing a virtual project team is and how to tackle those challenges. This is the article for you.
With the advent of the internet, the world’s focus shifted away from manual labor. However, with its ever-increasing speed, every scope was used to capitalize on the rate and create a place where life was mobile online but static offline. Anyone in the world can now work for any company from anywhere in the world. While the communication of this virtual reality is exceptionally smooth, its efficacy is not without flaws.
Many of us are doing our best to overcome the challenges of managing hybrid teams, but some missing pieces have been left for further treatment, which requires immediate and long-term attention. All types of groups face these challenges, and each requires a unique approach to dealing with them. Let’s get into what is the biggest challenge to managing a virtual project team within a hybrid organization? But first, what is a virtual project team?
What is a Virtual Project team?
A virtual project team, also known as a virtual team working on a specific project, collaborates from a different location to achieve the goals they set for themselves. Today’s internet world is faster than ever, allowing us to join any on-screen meeting anywhere in the world at any time. The unprecedented advancement in the corporate world, particularly fast-paced networking, has quickly advanced to build bridges between employees who aren’t even under the same physical roof. These geographically dispersed teams are often referred to as a ‘geographically dispersed team,’ or GDT.
These teams may never meet face to face. Still, with proper technology use, they will be able to form relationships, collaborate at work, and generate a sizable profit for the organization in which they work. It may have seemed impossible a century ago, but it is now standard practice and is quickly becoming the new normal.
Challenges of Managing a Virtual Project Team
A hybrid team may face a plethora of virtual project team challenges. When you consider managing a virtual project team, you will be accompanied by problems and roadblocks. These difficulties will most likely become more apparent the less control you have and the more direct supervision you have over the team. Maintaining a flawless relationship between a virtual team and an in-house team is no easy task. When managing a virtual project team, business owners may run into the following issues.
Absence of Structural Congruence
A brick-and-mortar business has a physical location with employees all over it. There is also an organizational culture that is strictly adhered to. People are doing their jobs, the hierarchy is maintained, and everything appears obvious, reasonable, and lively.
However, when it comes to hybrid or virtual office management, the situation is quite the opposite. There are no two employees in the same place; there is a lack of human connection and, most importantly, an absence of office culture, which is essential for being competent and progressive. Employees are often disoriented as a result of structural inconsistency. Business owners may believe that they have lost control of the situation.
Absence of the Right Kinds of Tools
There are many communication tools available on the internet that can assist in running a business without the need for a formal office environment. However, issues arise when we select tools for operational purposes. We frequently choose tools that are unnecessary, difficult to manage, or irrelevant.
The absence of the right tools harms the business, and no real gain is realized if the owners continue to use devices that leak money but provide no real return. Time tracking software, screen recorders, online presentation tools, and other remote work tools are all part of managing a virtual team. Still, the challenge is selecting the right ones and managing their use correctly.
Lack of Trust and Reliance
When managing a virtual team, a business owner may feel that he lacks visibility into how things are going. Have you ever had a feeling like this… He is frustrated because he does not directly supervise the employees and believes that everything is not under his control to manage. He has a nagging feeling of distrust in his mind. He is too insecure to rely on his employees and can’t help but take unnecessary steps to manage them, which irritates and distracts them from their work.
This lack of trust and reliance creates a negative impression of the business owners, and employees will not feel comfortable working for their boss. There is also a risk of imbalance in a hybrid organization because in-house employees are subjected to more supervision, but a mixed virtual team is not the case.
Distracting Factors all Around
It is not difficult to understand that when employees work from home or remotely, they feel more in control because they are less supervised by upper virtual team management. This disguised flexibility can stifle an employee’s productivity and degrade overall team performance if they don’t know how to work effectively remotely.
Consider those who work from their couches. Is it possible to be in work mode in this kind of setting? Distractions thrive in these scenarios, and they can be challenging to manage while working with a virtual team. As a result, it’s critical to educate your team on better remote working practices and share the top remote-working habits for success.
Absence of Personal Communication and Relationship
Relationship building is an important activity among employees for the organization’s more essential goods to be realized. Corporate leaders must pay close attention to this aspect because it will help them retain employees and create a work culture that promotes maximum efficiency and productivity.
In a hybrid corporate environment, it is more challenging to build on good relationships, have in-depth conversations with coworkers, and feel the warmth of human interaction when working remotely. In contrast to what we see with an in-house team leveraging a well-established relationship in your hybrid organization, it is more difficult for people working remotely to collaborate, share, and thrive together.
The Biggest Challenge to Managing a Virtual Project Team
As we are now aware of the issues that an owner of a hybrid organization may face, it is time to focus on the most daunting challenge that an owner who employs both in-house and virtual or remote workers may face.
We are all aware that communication is an essential component of any business and that it is widely recognized as one of the most remarkable skills to cultivate. A well-communicated platform entails a seamless connection between employees, well-realized business objectives, and a smooth flow of necessary information within an organization. If a company lacks this aspect, problems will eventually arise in its departments. As a result, no one can deny that effective communication is essential in any organization.
The following are three specific reasons we believe communication issues are the most significant impediment to overall organizational success.
Communication Gap Deteriorates Internal Relationships Through Misunderstandings
In a hybrid organization, the communication gap impedes building good relationships and breaks down relationships due to misunderstanding. It isn’t easy to communicate effectively between the in-house wing and the remote team as a hybrid virtual team. Unfortunately, some employees are left in the dark about the status of projects and actions.
Communication Gap Creates Data Inconsistencies
Whether a brick-and-mortar or a hybrid organization, a business experiences a high flow of information daily. Members of a virtual team may encounter issues transmitting data and information due to networking issues, software malfunctions, a lack of suitable communication platforms, or simply an error in inputting the data.
Communication Gap Hinders Organizational Goals from Being Pursued
A communication breakdown makes it challenging to communicate the correct message to employees about its vision, mission, objectives, and goals. If this occurs in a virtual workplace, the consequences could be severe. Employees find it difficult to perform their duties by the defined OKRs unless they thoroughly understand the organization’s goals and objectives.
How to Bridge the Gap of Communication in Hybrid Teams
We’ve outlined seven tips to help your virtual team become a stronger, more connected team to ensure proper communication in a hybrid virtual project team. Remember that good project management is critical in virtual teams, and it all starts with effective communication.
Hire Suitable Talent
Hiring the right people for your hybrid project team is the first step toward ensuring an effective communication system. Not everyone on the planet is cut out to work in a virtual team, and not everyone is built for remote work. Choose and hire those with solid technological knowledge, experience, and expertise, as well as a remote-first mindset. Ensure that the people you’re hiring are a good fit for the hybrid workforce you’ve been assembling.
Organize an Ice-breaking Platform
After hiring the right people, the first thing you should do as a manager is to create a common platform for all employees to engage. For example, suppose you organize an ice-breaking session to introduce the new team to the in-house team that works for you or set up a messenger group for the new employees to break the ice among themselves. If your team uses Slack, you can easily connect employees for in-office meetings by using a simple Slack command.
Use the Right Kind of Collaboration Tools
Collaboration and communication tools come in a variety of flavors. For example, tools for instant messaging, data storage, task management, tracking working time, video conferencing, or email service, among others. Decision fatigue is likely now that you’ve been inundated with tools for a different platform.
Buying all of the necessary devices at once is unlikely, and you’ll need time to compare and contrast them using a cost-benefit analysis.
Be mindful regarding the cultural diversity within virtual teams
When discussing hybrid and virtual teams, “cultural diversity” is bound to come up. It is usual for a mixed company to have employees from all over the state, country, or even the world, many of whom will come from different backgrounds have different tastes, behaviors, cultures, and skills.
As a business owner, you must be aware of cultural differences among your employees. A skilled manager never fails to foster good collaboration and an empathic relationship among employees from various backgrounds.
Say ‘No’ to Micromanagement
One of the most critical errors a hybrid project manager can make is becoming overly sensitive to employee working procedures. The meticulous manager may be instigated to drive employees to break free from the shackle of personal secrecy and undo all that has been done previously. Micromanagement occurs when a manager begins to distrust their employees, loses faith in them, attempts to get into their comfort zone, and makes them feel uncomfortable while working. Take note of this problem. Say no to micromanagement because developing trusting relationships with employees is one of the best investments you can make.
Micromanagement is detrimental to effective communication, primarily because a micromanaged employee is hesitant to communicate even a critical problem, thereby tying up the productivity rope.
Make it Easy to Connect
This is yet another tactic for keeping the two teams together in a hybrid workplace. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your employees. Although it may not be possible for you to be physically present all of the time, your team must know they can contact you whenever they need to. Organizing in-office gatherings, whether work-related or social, is essential for bringing the team together.
Tell your managers to hold standup meetings every day to get some chitchat on the agenda at the start of each day’s work. Arrange for retrospective meetings to evaluate the previous weeks or months’ performance. These simple meetings will bring the team together, and the employees will feel as if they are working under supervision, even if they are working from home.
Show Some Faith
Micromanagement, as previously stated, is not an option under any circumstances. Even if you’re not micromanaging and supervising your employees around the clock, they may be irritated to see a pair of eyes on them all the time. Try to have faith in your employees as an owner or manager. Having faith isn’t the only thing you should do.
Demonstrate to your team that you care about them and have faith in their abilities and work ethics. Employees will undoubtedly feel more at ease and confident in their work if this is done. Not only that, but they’ll be more enthusiastic about their job if they believe upper management believes in them. It’s a wise decision to hold your employees accountable for their actions to increase workplace productivity. Most importantly, fostering trust in the workplace will improve communication!
Tools that can help you achieve smooth communication & workflow
Virtual teams are made possible by technology. Don’t be afraid to use tools and software to make your job easier. The following is a list of tools that can help virtual teams communicate more effectively, as well as some popular options* to consider:
- Chat: Slack, Twist, Google Hangouts
- Project management: Trello, Jira, Asana
- Web and video conferencing: Google Meet, Zoom, Cisco Webex
- Collaboration and prototyping: Invision, Marvel, Adobe XD
- Scheduling: Calendly, Doodle
- Workflow automation: Zapier, Microsoft Flow, Monday
Not every tool will be a good match for your team. Consider trial periods or delegate the task of researching all options to determine which best meets your needs. Provide training for your staff on the tools you choose to ensure that everyone uses them consistently and to their full potential.
It can be challenging to develop communication strategies that resonate across your entire organization, including in-person and virtual teams. Some of our professional development programs are specifically designed to assist leaders in delivering clear, concise messaging to their groups.
The Biggest Challenge to Managing a Virtual Project Team is
It understands how to communicate effectively! If you want to be a leader in a hybrid world, this is the first thing you must learn. Communication is one of the essential skills for any employee in any workplace in the twenty-first century.
People who communicate well are more likely to succeed and advance in their personal and professional lives. The same can be said about hybrid and virtual project teams. Your business has a better chance of thriving if your communication channels are well-functioning. And, if you’re still having trouble, try using the tips that InApps mentioned in this article to bridge the communication gap in the hybrid teams you manage.
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