Working remotely and virtual company options have been a rising trend for several years. We have seen the benefits of it. According to a ConnectSolutions survey, approximately 30% of teleworkers have accomplished more in less time. The ability to work remotely has brought about many opportunities for workers. However, it also creates unique challenges that leadership faces. These challenges can be overcome, but the leadership must function differently in a virtual company to ensure success.
Personal Connection Diminishes
In a virtual company, you are no longer able to pop in to visit an employee randomly throughout the day. There is no ability to spend a few minutes catching up on the lives and families of employees and co-workers. This interaction is essential. It builds trust, relationships and reduces conflict. When face-to-face contact is removed, some employees may feel separated and isolated. This can reduce cohesion within a team. In a virtual company, leadership and employees must be more intentional in creating personal connections. Building up the company’s culture is a great place to start.
Miscommunication Is Prevalent
In a virtual company, it is easy for communication to occur. While there are many technologically advanced tools to improve communication, it is easy to remove personalization and emotion. It is hard to determine the tone and other nonverbal clues via email, text, and IM. As a result, messages are often misunderstood. This means that employees can misinterpret what someone says, and statements become much more personal. Some employees are more reserved in video channels than in person. They may not participate as much. This may lead to less interaction between employees and cause feelings of mistrust. Working in smaller teams can help mitigate against this as well as working deliberately on improving the company’s culture.
Delegation May Be Challenging
When there is miscommunication, it causes confusion among a team. There may be uncertainty as to who has which assignment. In a virtual company, the leadership must be clear when assigning work to ensure there is no confusion. The assignment and details of the work must be well communicated to the team and individual employees. Some leaders in a virtual company are more likely to micromanage their employees, which can breed feelings of mistrust. It is crucial for leadership to find balance in a virtual environment where communication and expectations are clear. Leaders have to work harder to build trust among the team. Establishing a feedback loop can be very helpful to both team members and leadership with a focus on always improving and innovating.
Even though virtual companies face unique challenges, these challenges can be tackled with the right mindset. A healthy dose of culture and encouraging constant feedback will go a long way. Everyone must work together to ensure that the challenges don’t overwhelm the benefits of remote work.