Regular communication with remote workers is important to keeping everyone happy and productive. However, communication doesn’t always come easy for individuals new to remote work. Bad communication can be improved, thankfully. It takes the right digital workplace platform, strategy, and people in critical roles to lead the way.
For companies offering the flexibility and freedom of working from home, here is how to improve communication with remote workers.
Drop Emails In Favor Of Chats
It’s probably safe to say that no one is clamouring for more work emails. Move to chat instead. Select an accommodating digital workplace platform, and if you can, change your tone to shorter, more informal conversations.
This way, the day will feel more like an ongoing conversation and hopefully have more flow. It’s also more human than a formal work email that might not be read later.
Create Group Tasks and Assign Them in Pairs
If everyone is working remotely and there’s not a lot of communication between them, consider assigning tasks in pairs and having group projects. This requires individuals to connect, converse, plan, work together, and execute. While you won’t want to do this at the expense of productivity and efficiency, the occasional leeway to foster more communication among remote workers is a smart approach.
Respect Off-Hours With No Messaging
Remote workers will resent a company or individual who continues to message during one’s off-hours. To improve communication, you want happy, healthy workers. Have all the communication you want during work hours.
When someone’s not in the office or unavailable, you won’t want to continue leaving them messages. This is basic remote worker communication etiquette. A mistake like this will degrade employee satisfaction and negatively impact communication.
Be Honest, Approachable, and Available
It takes a skilled communicator to sometimes get the ball rolling in remote communication, especially if the other person is shy or unfamiliar with this style of working.
Team leads should control the conversation, develop topics prepared during team meetings, and be approachable and honest to allow all parties to open up and genuinely connect. The more outgoing, the better.
Provide and Request Project Updates
Instill accountability and responsibility in remote communication by providing and requesting project updates. These can be done at routine times throughout the week or month. It allows remote workers to check in and ask questions and for a team lead or manager to do the same.
Keeping track of workflow, it’s also a chance to acknowledge good work, encourage employees to keep going, and ultimately ensure all actors are still on the same page.
Say Good Morning Every Day
Even if you don’t have anything else to say at the moment, for that little bit of human interaction and to add some structure to your day, send out a good morning message every day. This encourages others to say good morning.
Someone might crack a joke and make someone laugh. Then, you’re off to the races. It’s a way to get the daily group chat going and let others know you’re there.
Allow For Non-Work Talk
Set up a chat channel on your digital workplace platform where remote workers can discuss non-work matters. Consider sparking conversation by suggesting different topics.
Encourage workers to show off their pets, discussing what show everyone’s binge-watching, or having a random trivia day where you share a new question every hour. This makes work fun. Even if it’s not work-related, this builds camaraderie.
Show Empathy And Humanity
Show empathy is a way to build connections and communicate better with remote workers. If they’re not feeling well, say you’re sorry to hear that and acknowledge them. If they’re struggling with something, offer help.
Allow them to ask questions or voice concerns and do anything within your power to brighten the day if remote workers are having a rough time.
Make Effort to Provide Feedback
Remote workers are often deprived of feedback. They may not know how well they’ve done with a given task or may not realize what they’ve done wrong. It’s important to have a culture of feedback.
Whether positive or constructive, feedback lets remote workers know where they stand. Without feedback, they’re playing a guessing game and making assumptions about what’s expected of them going forward. Also, remember that positive feedback boosts confidence and morale.
Opt for Video Over Phone Calls
Not everyone is comfortable over a video call compared to a phone call, but the video offers a chance to communicate face-to-face. It’s mental and emotional contact not offered over a text message or phone.
Try to make sure some meetings are on video. Communication and collaboration are far better when more face-to-face is involved.