Covid-19 has impacted the human kind as a whole affecting the personal and work life of an individual. Pandemic has forced companies to work remotely which comes with many benefits like access of talent pool that is not restricted to location but it also comes up with quite a few challenges. Earlier people were fascinated about working remotely but that is only on papers, in reality the situation is bit different. When the team members do not meet face to face for a long time then it is possible that communication will suffer. There are chances that team members forget trust and mutual bond among them and it is hard to see who is passionate about work and whose skills are underutilised. The biggest challenge that the team faces while working remotely is miscommunication.
Below are the few communication challenges faced by remote teams:
- Lack of face to face communication
According to a research 70% of the communication is non-verbal i.e. through gestures, facial expression or body language. While working remotely all the communication took place either in writing or on call which causes misinterpretation of messages among team members. Our actions speak more than our words which gets lost somewhere in remote teams. Even if you are on a video call still there is a hindrance caused by the screen which disturbs the flow of information and results in miscommunication.
- Delayed responses
There are two types of communication- synchronous and asynchronous. A synchronous communication means conversation happens in real time like phone call, video call or through texts, whereas asynchronous communication means people can respond to as and when they want based on their convenience like e-mails. Synchronous communication is better as it does not take a lot of time and the conversation is not stretchy which results in instant responses but it demands you to be active all day. If the communication is text based then you get drowned in a pool of notification where you are likely to miss one or two important messages. Asynchronous communication gives people their time to respond which is sometimes beneficial but it stretches the conversation that make people feel disconnected.
- Technological hindrance
We have been living in an era where internet has become the necessity of life. Remote working is only possible because of the advancement in technology and internet. Lagging internet and connectivity issue can cause problem in synchronous communication, as an individual won’t be connected with the team. While attending a video call, it happens that the voices get overlapped and most of the words get misheard which causes miscommunication and misinterpretation of messages.
- Interruption of productivity flow
Innumerous emails, constant notifications and back to back meetings disturb the work flow of an individual which decreases the productivity as they are unable to concentrate on the given work. While working in different locations team leaders are curious to know whether its team members are performing or not as they had a habit of observing them while working in the physical space. In remote working they ask for constant updates and frequent reminders of what they have to do which affects the work flow and disturbs the productivity of the organisation.
- Cultural differences
Individuals working remotely come from different background, lifestyle, country and language. Each individual is different from one another and carry different values and culture. These differences cause communication barriers maybe because of difference in personality or language. Companies have their employees around the globe which mentions that their difference in time zones can also cause communication hindrances. The time we end our day it might happen the other team member start his day which causes a communication gap because there is no real time conversation happening between them.
According to a research 60% of the companies are planning to shift their work culture remotely which means one has to be prepared to tackle these problems on a regular basis. Although these problems can be solved by adaptation of few policies and communication tool but it will not be as smooth as it was in the physical space.