Just over half of respondents (53%) feel the pressure of distance and lack of face to face contact in remote virtual teams, whilst 40% nominated cultural differences as one of their three biggest challenges.
Matrix structures (those where people have more than one work group/line manager to work within) and excess meetings/ calls each affected just over a third of respondents.
Technology such as emails, by contrast, affected just 18%, and time zones presented even less of a challenge.
The results of this survey demonstrate very clearly that people find things that they have less control of, or dont clearly understand, more frustrating than the things they can control, like deleting an email or resolving technology glitches said Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration, which trains and consults in managing within complex organisations.
There are numerous ways for people within complex organisations at all levels of an organisation to manage themselves, and others, better. At a senior level, for example, communicating the reasons for the complexity can itself serve to alleviate problems, whilst for many others learning to influence without authority can be the key.
Remote and virtual working
Managing, and being managed in a remote and virtual – context can prove more challenging than working face to face. Its the sum of some of the other problems highlighted: distance, cultural differences and lack of time, whilst maintaining communication through technology. In virtual teams, you may also not have line control or full time access to your team members either.
Clear, open communication channels can help, said Hall, as well as trying to meet up in the early stages of working together.
Its alarming that cultural differences have been highlighted when they are one of the easiest issues to deal with through good training and information sharing.
There is a lot of baloney online about cultural issues, said Hall. For the most part both sides of this equation are sensitive to each others needs and more forgiving of communication mistakes, and many people find the exchange of ideas and information across cultures extremely rewarding once theyve had help understanding basic principles.