A few years ago, the remote work movement was spreading fast and it became a prevalent work mode throughout the pandemic. Today, most employees chose to work from home although they can return to their old offices. The teams continue to huddle around video calls and switch back and forth between several apps to do their jobs. In the midst of all the challenges and changes, communication takes the biggest hit. Since it’s the most valuable organizational asset, you should always look for ways to make it better. Take a look at some of the ways you can establish good communication with your remote team.
Survey the Staff
Most people think surveys are marketing tools only. However, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a team leader of a remote team, you can use it to gain valuable insight. For example, some team members fail to meet deadlines. In this case, you can use a survey to find out what happened or what tools could help them perform better. Also, you can survey the staff when you notice they’re losing motivation or struggling with something. Since you don’t share an onset office, this is the best way to give them a voice. If necessary, you can incentivize employees to participate in surveys.
Create User Manuals
Whether we want to admit it or not, remote work differs from the onset one to a great degree. Employees don’t know when others start working, what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling, etc. Without these cues, communication becomes the most challenging work aspect. With a user manual, team members know the most relevant information about each other. For instance, how to contact them in case of an emergency, what irritates them, or what tools they prefer to use. So, there’s no need to guess and possibly cause a misunderstanding. With insights into each other’s habits, preferences, or values, every internal communication strategy will become more efficient.
Greet Each Other
When asked what they miss the most about office life, most employees usually say – human interaction. One of the greatest challenges managers of remote teams face is connecting the staff while they’re physically distant. You could encourage them to act like they’re in a regular office. This means, greeting each other before every meeting. Also, employees could also catch up every morning over a coffee before they start working on their daily tasks. Then, you can leave a few minutes before and after meetings, so they can casually chat and bond. These small activities will make your staff feel less remote and distant from each other.
Use Instant Messaging Tools
Every team has a few members uncomfortable raising concerns in public, especially during the meeting. In an office, they could have come to your office and talked to you behind closed doors. However, in a virtual workplace, that isn’t an option. To allow employees to speak to you one-on-one, use instant messaging tools. They can send you a message and get first-hand information. The tools are great for conversations outside group. Employees can use them to collaborate or simply talk to each other. You can also use them to share updates with individual team members or to check in on them.
It’s wrong to expect your remote team to work efficiently if there’s no trust between you. For any relationship, trust is crucial. Since employees work remotely, you can’t monitor their work as much as you used to. More importantly, micromanaging via message or email is out of the question. Therefore, if you want to have good communication with your team, you should build trust. Assign tasks to employees, encourage the use of all the available virtual collaboration tools and resources. Set and share expectations and let them do their work. Just because you can’t see your team working doesn’t mean they’re slacking and procrastinating.
Employees rarely like reading large chunks of text without any visuals included. Now that they have top-notch technologies at their disposal, skimming through the text has become a lot easier. Since you’re managing a remote team, you can leverage visuals and make the documents more engaging and exciting. Different colors, vivid images, different fonts, and infographics will make any document more thrilling to consume. It’s important to remember not to overdo it. Keep the headers and styles elegant and professional. Stick to two normal fonts, the usual color palette, and leave enough white space throughout the document. This way, you’ll get your point across more effectively.
Remote work was a luxury only a few employees could afford. When the pandemic struck, it became the most common work arrangement across the world. Communication was the glue that kept remote teams together. Since they continue working remotely, you could use some tricks to make it more effective. With our tips, your communication with the team will become stronger.