Effective Workplace Communication Tips For Remote Teams
Team members who work remotely face communication challenges every day. The digital work environment brings a host of challenges for organizations and they need to proactively take steps to promote collaboration and two-way communication!
A culture of open, honest, and transparent communication fosters the exploration of new, creative ideas necessary for innovative thinking. Recent research shows that the right workplace environment can boost employee productivity by up to 25%.
Regular communication between teams can lead to higher job satisfaction, which reduces absenteeism, sick days, and turnover. In addition, when people feel understood at work, they will also put effort into understanding clients or customers.
Today’s modern tools make communication more accessible than ever, so there’s no excuse not to implement them sooner rather than later. How can you make meaningful connections when working with your teammates at different locations and rarely interacting face-to-face?
Communication can be tricky to master in remote teams, but it is not impossible. Effective communication can help remote teams become closer and improve collaboration.
Remote teams have unique communication needs. Managing such teams requires understanding the challenges and nuances of communicating effectively.
Workplace communication: Why it is essential for success
Effective communication is paramount to achieving business objectives, fostering a corporate culture, creating accountability, ensuring work gets done, and increasing revenue.
When a company makes improving communication a mission, it does more than prevent future misunderstandings and conflicts. Instead, they position themselves for sustainability and long-term success.
Start by conducting an internal communications audit to determine whether your internal communications serve the company’s needs or need adjustment. A communication channel audit asks a few basic questions:
- How well are you getting the information you need?
- How effective are the following channels of communication?
- Do you find it easy to find information or contact the right people when necessary?
Here are a few critical points for effective workplace communication.
Empathy is key
Remote work is bound to have a learning curve. Some will adapt quickly, and some will need time to get used to it.
It is essential to be empathetic toward all employees trying to minimize this learning curve. During the transition, let them know you will be available for assistance and that they can voice their concerns.
A little compassion can go a long way during this stressful time. We should try to create an open dialogue and keep the lines of communication open.
Also, read: Corporate Compassion In The New ‘New Normal’: Where Do You Stand?
Managing remote teams is challenging since you can’t just walk up to people and see what they are doing during the workday. Some people try to contact their teammates multiple times a day to check their progress.
Even though it may work for urgent tasks, it isn’t a good idea. Regardless of how they work, they are responsible adults.
The key to effective remote working is trusting your team members, and not harassing them with repeated calls and emails. Use collaboration and tracking tools, but resist overly intrusive means and too many calls.
Make internal messaging a priority
An office is where someone can share their views if they are not comfortable speaking in a meeting. But in a virtual environment, this isn’t easy. They must be able to have one-on-one discussions.
Using messaging tools that let people communicate outside the group is the best way to do so in a remote team. In addition, using a messaging system can help employees communicate quickly and efficiently without straining their inboxes.
Using it may even spark more communication among employees once they learn how easy it is. For example, you could use tools like Slack or WhatsApp to accomplish this.
According to David Grossman’s report, “The cost of poor communications, “companies incur an estimated $62.4 million annually due to workplace communication barriers, which profiled 400 large companies with 100,00 employees.
Specify communication tools for remote workers
Having too many communication tools means too many places to share information. Employees often miss messages when conversations are dispersed across multiple platforms. It is also possible for employees to become overwhelmed by messages from everywhere.
There should be tools for synchronous and asynchronous communication for remote teams.
- Instant messaging applications should be used for asynchronous communication.
- Project management tools can be utilized to share work updates.
- Email must be used only for critical communication taking into account email security protocols..
- For synchronous communications like team meetings or 1:1 discussions, use video applications.
Encourage virtual team-building activities
One of the biggest problems remote workers face is loneliness, which results in disengagement, reduced productivity, and employee turnover.
Developing personal and social bonds among team members is the only way to combat loneliness. When team members connect, they can communicate better, discuss problems, and find solutions before they become huge problems.
It is possible to conduct synchronous and asynchronous team-building activities in virtual teams, just like there are activities for people in an office.
Video conferencing possibilities are practically endless, especially with a good WiFi connection and a bit of imagination.
- Weekly virtual trivia nights
- Game nights
- Theme-based virtual happy hour every week
- Encourage non-work-related conversations through video coffee dates
Reward employees for achievements
We celebrate all kinds of events at work – birthdays, festivals, sporting events, and accomplishments. However, most remote teams neglect to do so since it’s complicated.
People believe it makes no sense to celebrate a birthday or a festive occasion if you are working remotely or if it falls on a holiday if you have no way of decorating the office or eating together.
Nevertheless, good teams find a way to show appreciation, even as simple as singing “Happy Birthday to You” or sharing a photo of a celebration. Applaud individual and team achievements. Send physical cards and gifts that people can hold in their hands.
Also, read: 7 Employee Engagement Strategies For WFH Tech Teams
Implement a support system
Create a support system for tools and processes that your team uses. You can create a knowledge base or FAQ that helps your team learn how to use the tools. Most of the tools you use come with support systems, such as a self-help portal and customer service. However, you may still want to create content that shows how your business uses the tools.
Set up a single point of contact in the team to coordinate any help team members may need to access policies and processes. Share links to policy documents and procedures so they can be easily found.
Creating a telephone directory and listing everyone’s contact details would be wise—outline clear guidelines as to who to contact during an emergency.
Nowadays, as offices are becoming more and more online environments, workplace communication is becoming more critical, alongside digital tools and proper training.
Improved workplace communication increases productivity, profitability, and employee retention and potentially saves businesses millions of dollars.
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