Virtual workplaces are like a Disneyland for adults minus the fantasies of Michael Crichton’s futuristic world. Simply put, they are the in thing, and a promise for any business survival. Today it is all about virtual teams and virtual organizations. Technology connects people where immediate physical face-to-ace interaction ends.
Virtual workplaces are now giving us a glimpse into tomorrow’s way of life and how technology is changing the way people within an organization relate. Most organizations now have team across geographies of better functioning and increase profitability.
Virtual teams are plagued by their set of inadequacies. It has been observed that many organization build virtual teams without understanding the implications. The biggest impediment is the lack of everyday face-to-face interaction. In such stations, building a rapport can suffer a blow. Virtual teams are formed to cut down expenses and improve business. But not addressing the issues of communication and effective camaraderie can defeat the purpose itself.
Having virtual teams across geographies allows a cost conscious organization to minimize unnecessary expenditure. But cutting through the cultural clutter can be quite an exercise for the organizations swell as the team. The paradox couldn’t have got more complicated. Employees are usually put in a complex virtual environment and are not given the required training due to shortage of material.
In virtual team scheduling a routine meeting can be a tough task, especially the members are half way across the world. Interpersonal frictions are rife, as one’s wake up will be a sleeping call for the other. At other times exchange of emails can create misunderstanding, simply because of an absence of an equation. Immediacy of certain information needed by one team may to drive home that immediacy on the other team members.
Group meetings over the phone are commonly seen at BPOs. But sometimes alongside the primary meeting, a few more are developing at the side. If the group is big, then it is usually found that other members indulge in chit-chatting among themselves. Or dominant members talk over the phone more often than the submissive or the smaller group members. For instance, an organization Sutherland Group used a simple but creative way to solve this phone meeting dilemma. Rather than meeting in the conference rooms team members stay at their workstations and dial into a phone bridge. Every company and team has to adopt a solution that suits them best and use it with tact, sensitivity and creativity.
Below are some issues that virtual teams encounter and the panacea for same:
Effective managers: The role of the manager is most important in managing virtual teams. Project managers are instrumental in tying al lose ends and for effective networking among all team. The manager is in charge of addressing all proximity. Another important trait is that the manager should be able to support empathies and communicate with his team which is spread across geographies. Lack of empathy is among the first reasons why virtual teams begin to fall apart. Another desired ability is, his ability to stand up for treating everyone same.
Nipping the issue at the bud:
Managers have it deal with situation before it escalates to be a major issue. But as virtual settings would have it, managers are usually known to turn a blind eye to the problem. They think the problem will go away, but it only gets worse. Managers have to understand underlying issues that hinge on matters of trust and respect.
Finally, constant communication is the most essential ingredient. Employees should be encouraged to fight over conflicts that arise over ideas and minimize on fights that generate over ego. Having set guidelines allow team members to meet personal and team targets. All guidelines ensure that valuable time is not trifled in miscommunication and misunderstandings. The dynamics of working a team are more complex than working alone, and virtual team dynamics are more complicated.