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The RW3 study went on to find that while the vast majority of these employees encountered challenges in virtual work, only 16% had any training to prepare them.
The study had a stunning response rate: 3,300 business people from 103 countries.
"It is clear that the survey struck a nerve," says Charlene Solomon, president of RW3.
"In fact, the huge response itself is one of the key findings.
There is a pent-up demand for expressing the difficulty of working virtually across time zones, languages and cultures." The 2012 Virtual Teams Survey Report Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams found that: In the virtual workplace decisions take longer and are harder to make; That the absence of visual cues makes it more difficult to collaborate, and that building team trust is more difficult.
The survey also found that working across time zones rivaled communication and other culturally based challenges for being the biggest hurdle facing corporate workers."It appears that while nearly everyone in today's workplace recognizes the needand appreciates the valueof virtual work, it is not easy, especially when cultural differences, time zone challenges, accents and communication styles enter the equation," says Solomon. 41% of virtual team members never met their colleagues in a face-to-face setting.Other key findings: 87% of respondents indicated at least 25% of their productivity depended upon working virtually.33% said at least half of their virtual teams were outside the home country.Respondents reported virtual teams were most different from face-to-face teams in managing conflict (70%), expressing opinions (55%), and making decisions (55%).The top five challenges during team meetings were: insufficient time to build relationships (79%),speed of decision making (73%), lack of participation (71%), different leadership styles (69%), the method of decision making (55%).