Although the role of effective communication is already undeniable in our day-to-day life, however, when it comes to working remotely, it becomes even more critical to get your point and ideas across your teammates and superiors and to understand the instructions from the higher-ups. Lack of communication will cause confusion and inefficiency, ultimately leading to wasted time, money, and resources.
Especially when it comes to remote work, experts suggest that you should over-communicate with your team or colleagues so that there is no risk of miscommunication or assumptions.
While remote working may be fun and accommodating to your personal routine with flexible working hours, it still has its own challenges. These challenges include but are not limited to language and cultural barriers and different time zones. Below is a list of some of the best practices companies could adopt to develop a healthy communication level with their remote working staff.
Establish communication guidelines
One of the most essential points to consider is how communication should occur in remote working and which platforms should be used for it. Set up proper rules and guidelines for your employees to follow when communicating with the higher-ups, team members, or team leads. These guidelines should elaborate on what type of communication platform should be used for different kinds of information sharing and circumstances, i.e., when is it suitable to send an email or a message? Or when should the employee make the call, etc.?
Conduct live meetings
Conducting regular live meetings helps companies communicate better with their employees. While an email or a message could be useful in delivering a message’s verbal content, they are quite useless when it comes to non-verbal aspects of communication. An apparently open and professional letter from an employee could have resenting undertones, which, if left unnoticed, could strain not only the company-employee relationship but also leave adverse effects on the employee’s productivity. Hence, live meetings or video conferencing must be held regularly to be aware of the employees’ struggles, issues, and concerns. It also helps the organization connect with its staff.
Allow your people to connect.
People working remotely do not get the opportunity to interact and connect with their colleagues the way they would in a traditional office setup. With lack of connections comes a lack of trust and compatibility, which could prove troublesome when working in teams. Companies should, therefore, allow their employees to interact with each other in non-business and relaxed settings. Team leaders should make it a point to find creative and exciting ways for their team members to virtually gather and bond with each other, just as they would have bonded over coffee, lunch, or dinner had they not been working remotely.
Use platforms specifically designed for remote companies.
While Gmail may be the best option for exchanging emails and skype might be the best choice for calls and video conferencing, it’s still a little too casual for remote working. What you and your employees need is an online platform that is secure and gives the vibes of a virtual workspace, specifically designed for remote workers to connect and communicate with each other and the organization. This will protect crucial information from getting lost in the chats on different platforms and prevent it from being stolen through insecure networks.
Don’t let your employees feel disconnected.
Remote workers are bound to feel disconnected from the organization at one point or another since they don’t come in regular contact with the company. It is the company’s responsibility to not let its remote employees feel disconnected and isolated from the company. One way to do that is by arranging virtual get-togethers and inter-departmental meetings that would make your remote workers feel like they belong somewhere and are not forgotten by the organization just because they don’t show up to the office premises every day. Another way to make your employees feel connected to the organization is through company retreats. Planning yearly or half-yearly company retreats, i.e., inviting your employees to a physical meet-up, would give them a sense of belonging and make them feel appreciated by the company, improving the employee morale to a great extent.
The need for over-communication
Contrary to the general perception about the word, over-communication does not mean sharing everything but instead discussing the matter so that there are no chances of confusion or misinterpretations. It refers to the skill of communicating effectively. With each worker working remotely from home or anywhere globally and doing their job following their personal schedules and priorities, it’s often hard to pick on what the person is going through mentally or emotionally. This results in the misinterpretation of non-verbal behavior. For example, a person giving short replies after longer intervals might seem a little uninterested or rude to the person on the other end. Still, in truth, that person might just be a little worried about a sick child or some other personal matter. Hence, you must encourage your remote employees to over-communicate to avoid misunderstandings, confusion, and hard feelings in the future.
Management by objective
Management by objective is by far the best and the most suitable approach to remote working environments. The employees are out of your reach, and you cannot keep tabs on everything they do. What you can do is set clear and comprehensive goals for your employees to achieve, define the process that will help them achieve the set goals, and let them figure the rest out.
Your employees should be clear on what they are required to do and how they could do it. Let them come to you if they need help or guidance but do not try to micromanage them because micromanagement of remote workers is unreal and will also leave a bad taste in the employees’ mouths.