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Trends, Challenges, and Solutions for Global Teams

Trends, Challenges, and Solutions for Global Teams

Many companies today leverage the international talent pool to give them a competitive edge in the in-demand markets. The geographically distributed workforce allows companies to work virtually with individuals with the highest expertise around the globe.

However, managing a global virtual team in which everyone works in different time zones and comes from various backgrounds can be a serious challenge. 

Keep reading as we cover everything you need to know about global team trends, challenges managers could face while leading one, and feasible solutions.

Trends, Challenges, and Solutions for Global Teams

Trends in global virtual teams

Virtual team setups have become a standard for most companies. This has completely changed how and where employees do their work. Collaborating across borders has never been easier, thanks to the plethora of new digital novelties. 

Here are a few of the top trends in global virtual teams.

Faster workplace digital transformation

With the transition to remote work, digital transformation has spiked up. This can be seen in companies’ increased use of cloud-based software. As a result, the IT on-premise workload has significantly dropped.

As technology is an essential part of remote work, companies make investments in technology tools that will facilitate the work process within a multinational team. This includes using cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Workplace, Slack, and Asana

More fully-remote and hybrid companies

Although some companies have decided to go back to the traditional office environment, remote work has remained quite prevalent. 

Nowadays, companies are classified according to how much remote work they allow in their global team. Some fully remote companies only have virtual teams from around the world without physical headquarters. On the other hand, hybrid companies have physical headquarters and allow both remote and in-office work. 

Research shows that remote work isn’t going anywhere, so companies need to adapt to these changes if they want to have the best international talent on their team. 

The increase in virtual workers

The number of remote workers has been increasing steadily in the last few years. Many are lured by the flexibility, no commute, and less office politics. And when it comes to productivity, researchers discovered that employees could work effectively 70% of the time in a remote environment.

There’s an expected shift in labour demand by 2030. Jobs in IT, Big Data, and analytics are projected to be in high demand. Most importantly, all of these jobs can be done in a remote setup, meaning that remote work is here to stay. 

Remote work and coworking spaces

Virtual team members can enjoy the freedom to work from wherever they want. Besides the comfort of their homes, many remote workers have been opting for a coworking space, which replicates the office environment. 

Coworking spaces are great places for networking, forming communities, and alleviating the feeling of loneliness that comes as a side effect of remote working. In addition, they create a routine and stability, which induces task productivity and higher quality of work.

Trends, Challenges, and Solutions for Global Teams

Challenges and solutions for global teams

Managing a team in an office where everyone is local is daunting enough. But managing a geographically distributed team can easily lead to miscommunication and a number of other complications. 

While every issue can’t be predicted, it’s helpful to be aware of some potential mishaps so you know how to approach them in the future. 

Disconnection between the opinion of the managers and the opinion of the team members

The disconnect between managers and team members can be tracked down to a lack of proper corporate communication. Another reason is the cultural barrier, which can spur countless misunderstandings. 

The degree of virtual communication via video conferencing must be increased to establish clear communication. These types of tools allow virtual “face-to-face” communication, where it’s easier not to take things out of context. 

Management should also make an effort to get to know the team members’ cultures better by communicating with them. This will eradicate any cultural barriers and create closer bonds. 

Finding the time that works for all

Another issue that comes with managing global virtual teams is time zones. Most team members will probably have different working hours, so it’s essential that you set certain rules around the communication flow. 

Scheduling meetings at an optimal time for everyone will ensure that every team member can participate in the meeting without waking up early or staying up late. 

In addition, asynchronous communication via email or video messaging can also foster communication as both parties can respond whenever it’s convenient for them. 

Communication issues

The communication within a distributed team needs to be with intent. Establishing expectations about the frequency of communication and having various platforms for different types of communication is crucial. 

Keep in mind that these expectations need to be set according to the team members’ working hours and time zones. 

Using asynchronous and synchronous communication can also aid employees in planning their workday and prioritising their workload. 

The cultural differences

International teams require more intentional bonding opportunities. Holding occasional virtual get-togethers helps to create a sense of working together as a unit. 

Managers should encourage non-work related activities, such as gaming sessions, energizers, or just hosting a tea hour where you talk for fun. 

Moreover, creating channels for informal talks can bring team members closer based on interests, hobbies, or just random topics. 

Cybersecurity as a crucial factor

Virtual teams oversee and manage the company’s sensitive information, like financial assets, customer data, or employees’ personal information. 

This classified data could easily become vulnerable to cyber attacks when connected to a public WiFi network. A data breach could expose sensitive data, putting the company in serious jeopardy. 

Because of that, implementing high-security protocols and using security tools like password management and cybersecurity firewalls is essential. 

The different geographical positions 

Power struggle in the global virtual team hierarchy is another challenge managers have to tackle. 

Some teams might be utilised by other teams, which could lead to resentment and a distorted perception of power.

Setting up a common goal and reinforcing the team spirit values are just a few ways to build positive commandership. A team can only thrive if every member feels respected and works in a harmonious virtual atmosphere. 

Understanding team structure

Without a defined workflow, work efficiency will simply deteriorate. It can put the team at a disadvantage and delay the desired outcome. 

Having a clear structure that can track every team member’s work progress eases the collaboration process. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all tool for online workflow, many companies have been resorting to Asana and Basecamp to help them stay organised. 

Moreover, performing a workflow analysis can help you detect potential cracks and areas that need some tweaks and turns. This will further optimise the workflow and increase productivity. 

Trends, Challenges, and Solutions for Global Teams

Wrapping up

Managing team members from different cultures, time zones, and backgrounds isn’t a walk in the park. However, if you have soaked in the global team’s trends, challenges, and solutions discussed above, you’ll have no problem creating a high-performing global team that meets the company’s goals!

Gjurgjica Panova avatar


Gjurgjica is a content writer who is passionate about the written word and the latest digital trends. When she’s not in the writer role, she can be found binge-watching her favourite shows and planning her next trip.

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