• Subha

Signs That Your Virtual Team Is Crumbling In Reality

Updated: Aug 25


Managers! This feature is exclusively for you. You had a grand plan, and you were so sure it would work. In an ideal virtual world, it still could.

But in the real one, your team Just. Doesn’t. Get. It.


​​It’s every manager’s nightmare, whether you are in a large corporation or running your own business. Despite wanting to gather the troops in a room and give them a piece of your mind, you soldier on… but, for how long?


Sometimes, facing up to the truth is the best way to prevent an impending catastrophe, and hopefully even course-correct in time.


Seven of the clearest signs that your virtual team is not in the greatest of shape.

  1. Too many emails, too little work– “Hi, please send the image.” “Hi, it has been sent. Please check.” “Hi, unable to open the image. Please send again.” Encountering too many of these emails, sandwiched squarely in the email cc? Time to get people to talk, or to at least get them to figure things out without needing this level of passing the ball around. Also, consider getting on to the right team collaboration tool.

  2. Caught in the crossfire– It’s not just the emails cc’d to you that can be exhausting. You may be pulled into debates that have nothing to do with the job, or you. Each team member thinks they have a direct Whatsapp window to your heart. You may invariably become agony aunt, and HR rolled into one. Need we say it? These conversations are an utter waste of time.

  3. Making the same mistakes again– Sometimes, there are aspects of a business’s culture that take time to change. Then, there are aspects of the work culture that simply won’t change. Working remotely can, unfortunately, bring out the very worst of that culture. Missed deadlines will stay missed for long, and lack of follow-up means that more of the same mistakes will continue. If this is the case, get a new team. Really.

  4. Teams that don’t like each other– On a purely professional level, disagreements are to be expected. This is particularly the case if you are a creative enterprise. However, when these discussions begin to get personal, no one comes out of them any better. Excess finger-pointing is a no-no. This hints at a problem that is much deeper than ideological differences.

  5. No end product– For any business to make money, they need to deliver results on time. Be it a product or a service, something tangible needs to reach a client. If you find either no end product or no one taking the responsibility of finishing it, then you’re just pulling the oars on a sinking ship.

  6. Never knowing who is on leave– In virtual teams, it may seem like a casual leave is just a matter of switching off for the day. However, anything more than a day of an unannounced holiday can severely disrupt work. If, after repeated reminders, people cannot seem to remember to drop an email, or call, when on leave, there’s something fundamentally wrong about how they perceive remote work to be.

  7. Endless discussionsMeetings do no one any good, and we stand by this statement. For virtual teams, they are even worse because a) half the time is spent in checking if everyone can hear everyone else, and b) people who cannot come to conclusions in person can rarely ever come to conclusions over a call.


Are any of these issues plaguing your team? How are you fixing them? ​Tell us in the comments below.

You can also check out the 20 Minute Manager series on Leading Virtual Teams or a handy free download on Virtual Teams from the folks at Zapier.

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