Challenges of virtual teams

These are the most common challenges of virtual teams today:

  • Lack of communication – Without face-to-face interactions, virtual teams may not communicate well and misunderstand one another.
  • Lack of trust – Without the ability to build trust through face-to-face interactions. Perhaps virtual teams may have a hard time building consensus and making decisions.
  • Distractions – Virtual teams are often distracted by outside activities and obligations. Perhaps because they lack the interaction that helps them refocus their attention on the project at hand.
  • Lack of support – Without being able to see the body language of team members, virtual teams may not know if someone is upset or discouraged and thus not know how to help them.
  • Lack of commitment – Team members in a virtual team may not feel committed to the project. For instance, if they do not feel that their work is valued.

Virtual teams are often met with several challenges regarding communication and coordination. 

Let us discuss each of these in detail below:

Challenges of Virtual Teams

Lack of Communication

The primary challenge of communication on virtual teams is that they may not communicate well, if at all. Communication is vital to the success of any team, virtual or otherwise; and is largely dependent on the communication tools in use by the team members. Having all team members be able to communicate with one another via text-based chat applications is a common solution for virtual teams.

However, virtual teams often have multiple people from multiple different locations, some without any access to a computer or phone at all. This can lead to miscommunication since team members cannot see facial expressions and other body language cues from each other.

Furthermore, it is important that virtual teams also have a means of communicating with one another via telephone or video conference as well. This is important for coordinating meetings, especially for geographically dispersed teams.

Poor Coordination 

Another problem that is common on virtual teams is poor coordination, which can lead to wasted time and resources, as well as frustration among team members. You can combat these by using tools that facilitate collaboration and coordination among team members. 

For example, tools such as task management applications or scheduling applications are useful in this regard because they allow team members to see what their co-workers are doing in real-time and coordinate with them accordingly.

The most effective solution for building trust on virtual teams is face-to-face interactions among team members; however, these are often impossible due to the geographic distribution of the team members involved in the project. Thus, other solutions must be in use to promote trust within the virtual teams themselves. 


In summary, the most effective way to build trust within virtual teams is to have team members meet in person early and often in the project. However, this is not always possible due to the nature of working with virtual teams. Thus, there should be more strategies in use; such as frequent video conferences or phone calls.

In addition to building trust among team members, another challenge for virtual teams is ensuring that team members feel valued for their contributions to the project. 

Since virtual teams often do not have face-to-face interactions with their co-workers, the only way they can be sure that their work is valued is by receiving feedback from their managers and team leaders. This can be via regular meetings, phone calls, or even group chats. This helps improve commitment to the virtual team project.

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