Work in a Remote or Virtual Team

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Working in a remote or virtual team away from managers is a dream career opportunity for many people. While this opportunity has many benefits and rewards for both employees and managers, it can also be quite challenging for managers. Employees typically enjoy working without being under the watchful eyes of their managers. Research has also shown that employees are more productive. When employees work with other team members who are from different countries or times zones, problems can occur for managers.

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This can be managed with proper leadership and awareness. Songsri of HHH informational technology department is assigned to put together a virtual team develop a program to integrate a financial security transaction program between the databases of HHH and Mammoth. The project team will consist of different personnel with experience and knowledge in their fields. The team will provide perspective from both HHH and Mammoth in order to accomplish a database program to benefit both companies. Some challenges Songsri will face are different time zones, miscommunication, coordination breakdown, lack of dedicated personnel and incomparable team insight. In order for the project to be successful, implementing the best and most up-to-date collaboration tools will be essential to staying in sync between team members Songsri first challenge will be different time zones.

The different time zone has its pros and cons. Songsri’s benefits of employees working in different time zone is added diversity to the teams. This can also boost team moral because there will always be someone available to work no matter what time it is. In addition, the team work culture and diversity in the workplace can allow the opportunity for fresh insight, perspectives, and new strategies. This new insight can be put into action and used to complete the mission with outstanding results. Some cons of working in different time zones are miscommunication and increased dependency, and delay. Miscommunication or communication failure is a common issue encountered when working with remote teams across different time zones. It can be as easy remedied by clarifying information and troubleshooting programs. Miscommunication can accumulate with time and cause a delay in finishing the task. As a result, causing increased dependency. Working with virtual or remote teams, the objective is to reduce time and increase production. This requires tasks to be performed using chronological or common dependency with the team personnel across the different time zones. Dependencies must be handled cautiously, because group projects depend on each person completing their portion of the task. Having to wait on one person to finish a task can derail the entire process. Dependency not only can destroy the team moral but can also cause missed deadlines.

Coordination breakdown is direct effect of miscommunication. According to Merrian-Webster, coordination is the process of organizing people or groups so that they work together properly and towards a common goal. Coordination can breakdown over something as simple as a difference in lunch times and work hours between teams. Songsri will need to manage the project calendar and schedule meetings cautiously due to overlapping and non-overlapping work hours. Computer malfunctions or software problems can cause a breakdown in coordination which can cause delays between other team members. Communication is essential with remote teams and eliminating coordination breakdown. Songsri should create a proper and effective channel of communication between team members that will alert all team members of any schedule changes or network problems at all remote locations. Songsri should also consider scheduling individual team member meetings rather than trying to organize a group meeting. This will show consideration for team members located in different time zones than her.

The lack of dedicated personnel for the project is a factor that may hinder the time it takes to complete the project. Personnel working on different departments may be tasked by other managers causing a calendar coordination conflict. The fact that some of the personnel work for another department, but are assigned to the Songsri’s project, does not necessarily mean that the person is under her direct management. Personnel working under different management may find it hard to communicate other team members. Songsri should develop clear guidance for employees and sign an agreement between both organizational leaderships to avoid double tasking or over scheduling personnel assigned to the project. Another challenge for Songsri is employees who practice unethical work habits. For instance, some employees may lack the dedication required to work remotely which could involve anything from coming in late to work or taking longer breaks. When the management is not able to have oversight over a remote team or individual, unethical team members might take advantage of the situation which can affect other dedicated team members negatively. This could put the project at a higher risk for failure. Unethical people can and will demoralize the rest of the team members who are having to pick up the slack. In turn this causes the workload to be higher for the ethical members. This is sure to cause animosity between team members. In order for Songsri to have a successful remote team, she must set up clear project roles and responsibilities. She needs to discuss expectations for each team member and hold everyone accountable for their actions.

Incomparable team insight may cause different issues at any level in the team. Personality conflicts may be a result of language barriers and gender. People have different personalities that can hinder communication within teams. In an increasingly multi-cultural world, people from diverse cultures and backgrounds find themselves working together more frequently. Even when people are eager and willing to work together and cooperate, they may accidentally confuse or even upset each other because cultural differences. It is important for people to remain aware of the differences, have patience and mutual respect for one another in order to help minimize problems. Language barriers among disperse teams across different time zones is a common problem that is subject to miscommunication. Research demonstrates that employees of any organization feel that a language barrier across teams is a major component for coordination and communication breakdown between them. If employees are battling language and cultural barriers, it is important that managers reinforce company policies and remind them that each employee has something unique to offer to the team. Research shows that having a homogenized staff that is full of employees from the same background or education level can cause ideas to become stagnant. Songsri needs to ensure the team’s communication is smooth and tasks are being met and accomplished according anticipated project’s deadline. Songsri also needs to be cognizant of gender discrimination. This is a common problem faced in today’s workplace. Gender inequality in the workplace occurs when an employee is treated differently, unfavorably or unfairly because of their gender. The most common form of gender inequality is unequal pay or unfair promotions to various employees working at the same capacity. Prime example, under federal law, if a woman performs the same function, achieves the same goals, and works the same hours, she is entitled to be compensated the same pay as a man preforming the same job. Songsri has a diverse group of employees working remotely in different time zone working with their respective background experiences. The past few decades, gender dissimilarity has been the main subject of policy debate concerning development. This policy apprehension has been matched by an equal level of studies interest, which has created a robust amount of information intended to demonstrate that if a company or group reduce gender dissimilarity, it may lead to a higher rate of development. This evidence has been used to promote more gender inequality-reduction policies as a valid and effective tool promote development in the organization. Songsri will be responsible for creating an equal opportunity workplace and to take immediate action to address any complaints or aversion. Songsri needs to educate all the team members with the same gender policy information and expectations. Songsri will need to inform the team member of the formal and informal channels to report any concern in the work place.

In conclusion, Songsri’s, teams are scattered around different time zones, working on projects that will depend on other team members to lift their load for sequential completion of tasks. If Songsri remains cognizant and accepts that unexpected issues may rise, this is half of the battle won! Adding the different time zones, lack of dedicated personnel and incomparable team insight in geographically dispersed locations, Songsri will have many challenges to face and learn from. In life, there are pros and cons to everything, and having a remote team working across various time zones is no different. But being aware of possible problems ahead of time can help managers to anticipate any issues and look for solutions before those problems arise. Remote or virtual teams with proper management and dedicated employees that exhibit mutual respect of others can work well together and could be extremely beneficial in many ways.

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Work In A Remote Or Virtual Team. (2021, Mar 09). Retrieved from