A few years ago, remote work was a privilege only some could enjoy. Today, it’s become a norm for every business and industry to conform to. The work arrangement with the pandemic is changing the way the business world is functioning. One of its building bricks is communication on all organizational levels. This aspect is particularly challenging. To keep remote employees communicating virtually, virtual employees despite not sharing the office any longer, here is some advice.
Don’t Change the Morning Routine
One of the greatest problems remote teams face is the lack of organization and human interaction. Despite social distancing, you can still make your team feel close even though they no longer share the office. For starters, you can encourage them to behave like they normally would in the workplace. The usual practice in most companies is greeting each other and sharing a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. The activity of drinking virtual coffee together will make them feel like a part of the team.
Encourage the Use of Internal Communication Tools
If you haven’t been using tools for internal communication already, now is a good time to start. You can transfer all the small talk in the corridors, common room, and meetings in another medium. For example, email. But, not all employees like to sift through full inboxes every day. Why not use a user-friendly and convenient messaging system instead? Some of the internal communication examples include apps or tools for quick message and update exchange. The best part is they take the pressure off their inboxes.
Connect on a Personal Level
By now, you’ve noticed how easy it’s to communicate with someone if there’s a personal connection involved. This also helps to overcome the alienation that comes with remote work. Instead of sticking to business only, try to build lasting connections. Team building activities can help you with that despite managing a remote team. For instance, you can host happy hours, trivia night, or team lunch. All you need is a stable Wi-Fi connection and a bit of imagination and the employees will be united again. You can also give them a space of their own within the messaging system. This way they can interact in a more relaxed way about everyday things.
Use Video Meetings
Your employees aren’t only physically distant from each other, but also emotionally. In the long run, it can lead to poor job performance and overall dissatisfaction. If this had happened a few years ago, you would have had only a few solutions at your disposal. Today, you can rely on modern technology for help. For human face-to-face contact in the virtual workplace, you can overuse video meetings. Instead of messages or audio calls, you encourage employees to jump in on a video call. This will result in fewer misunderstandings and stronger team spirit.
Be Sensitive to Employees’ Needs
What virtual communication lacks the most is empathy and nonverbal cues. Body language and gestures make any type of communication easier and more effective. In the virtual world, it’s easy to jump to conclusions without these elements present. To make virtual communication work for you and employees, you have to be sensitive to each other’s needs. Some employees might find remote work more challenging than others. It could be the reason why they have been off their game. Recognize their needs and offer help and support throughout the transition.
Keep Information in One Place
Another problem you might face regards information. Remote employees need to have access to relevant information. It’s one of the reasons why they do their jobs well. However, in a virtual world, pieces of information can get lost, misplaced, or overlooked. Employees shouldn’t have to spend too much time searching for policies, regulations, or guides. By keeping all information in one place, employees will find what they need in a matter of seconds. Their productivity will remain intact. Thus, create a folder or a section within the communication system and upload all significant files here. This way employees will know where to look for info when needed.
Define Employee Aims
Most managers see remote employees as slackers. But, many studies show remote workers need less time to finish their tasks than in a fixed work environment. The key to their high performance is in clearly defined goals. Managers take time to set goals for employees and provide all the information and instructions they need to accomplish them. In remote workplaces, communication is the biggest challenge. Duties and responsibilities tend to get misinterpreted. For this reason, it’s imperative to be as clear as possible. That’s how managers set their teams for success.
Remote work is no longer a luxury, but a rule businesses have to follow due to the pandemic. To get the most out of this situation, you should prioritize employee communication. Use tools, keep them informed, give instructions, recognize their needs, and bond with them. That’s the secret to great virtual communication.