Communication represents the foundation of effective remote work. It helps employees stay on the same page with colleagues and supervisors, keeping teams productive and cohesive even amid separation and challenging situations. In the virtual setting, it’s more critical that communication efforts be clear, comprehensive, and adaptive.
Here are six tips to help you effectively communicate with your remote workforce.
- Be proactive. The more forward-thinking and preemptive your communications are, the more fluidly your team will operate. If there’s a large project on the horizon that’s going to require a lot of work, make sure everyone knows well in advance so they can plan for it and be prepared when the time comes. This holds true for vacations and anything else that can cause interruptions, so you can create a plan and minimize any delays. As a manager, you should also set the standard when it comes to communication. Consider your tone, be professional, and carefully edit and proofread your messages for accuracy.
- Use the appropriate channels. Be smart with how you communicate with your remote employees. For example, it might be tempting to write out a lengthy email but if a three-minute phone call could accomplish the communication with greater clarity, that’s a better choice. Emails should typically be reserved for shorter, single messages, such as setting up video meeting times or sharing files. Instant messaging is good for having brief catch-ups with an employee or organizing social aspects. If you have something substantial to say, or it’s a topic that requires collaboration or discussion, make a phone call or organize a video chat.
- Resist the urge to micromanage. When you aren’t physically located in the same space as your employees, excessive control can run amok. You may feel compelled to check in with your team about their progress on various tasks throughout the day, but that can be distracting and do more harm than good. More importantly, it implies that you don’t trust your employees to get their work done. Give them goals to complete, make sure they understand what’s expected, and then let them do their jobs.
- Remind people of their importance. Whether your team members are down the hall or across the globe, they need to know that what they’re doing matters. Ensure that the team’s goal is clear and consequential and that each employee knows how they fit into that bigger picture, too. Remote workers tend to only get briefed on their particular tasks and given information on a need-to-know basis. They often work in silos so they don’t have opportunities to understand how their work affects other aspects of the business. Interdepartmental meetings and sharing of information can help everyone see that they’re making valuable contributions.
- Leverage the power of “we”. Employee communication should never be a one-way street. Rather, it should be an intentional two-way exchange between you and your team members. Give your remote employees regular feedback, encourage them to share their ideas and viewpoints, keep an open mind, and act on the information you gather along the way.
- Get creative. One of the biggest challenges of remote work is the sense of disconnectedness that often comes with it. Because employees are physically distant from co-workers, isolation and detachment can easily set in. That’s why remote work communications need an added dose of vibrancy and engagement from time to time. Some companies incorporate online video chat activities to break the monotony of work. Virtual trivia game nights are popular options, as are online happy hours where employees can unwind, bond, and enjoy themselves.
Your team members can remain close even when they’re physically apart. If you prioritize communication and work to get it right, you and your workforce will be happier, healthier, and more engaged. Does your organization need strategic guidance to enhance its work from home communication processes? The HR Team can help! Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.