Remote work offers many advantages for businesses and their employees, especially nowadays.
According to a FlexJob survey, 65% of workers find they are more productive at home than in the office. Reasons for this boost include fewer distractions, reduced stress, and saves more time from commuting.
But telecommuting has its challenges as well, such as using the right communication and remote data access tools. With this, you should stand up and give them support.
Inspire efficiency among your remote workers. Make sure everybody is on the same page by integrating these tips into your daily practices:
7 Communication Habits to Keep an Effective Remote Team
1. Be a proactive manager
Your job as a manager doesn’t stop even when your employees are socially distant. It’s on you to get ahead of the curve.
Take time to determine what your team needs the most right now. Start by assessing some roadblocks they could be facing. Then define solutions from it.
For example, if you have a project coming up, make sure your team members know about it well in advance. Then equip them with the necessary resources and tools. And even if you only have a few details available, share them with your team so they can start getting ready.
2. Maintain a schedule of availability
Scheduling is a must to keep an organised team.
Encourage your team to start work at the same time as much as possible. Or you can simply create a group chat and set a habit for everyone to ping when they start and end their shift. And don’t forget to set regular meetings too.
Consistency gets even more critical though once you coordinate larger remote teams or those across time zones. If you’re working with freelancers across the world, set time of availability for them considering different time zones.
3. Integrate the right technical tools
Remote working and technology go hand-in-hand. But tech issues are unavoidable which disrupts workflow and productivity.
Since telecommuting and the cloud are two sides of the same side, begin by ensuring that you and your team have reliable internet connections. This is something we easily take for granted in the office, but a faulty router or insufficient cellular signals can seriously hamper your business.
Next, equip yourself with the right software and apps. When it comes to project building and collaboration, it’s hard to beat the efficacy of Microsoft 365. It takes the familiar Office Suite and turns it into an all-in-one solution for managing remote teams.
And you’ll be able to take advantage of these integral features:
- Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage
- Online and Offline Microsoft Office Suite
- Skype for Business
- Work management tools
4. Pay individual attention to your team
The little things you do as a manager add up even more in the remote setting. It’s easy for employees to feel disconnected and unvalued sometimes.
Acknowledge them for their hard work from time to time and let it inspire others. On team projects, be sure to mention specifically when a team member goes above and beyond. It can be in the group chat and emails with statements like “Great job on the graphics, Brian” or “Way to pull together the different leads, Susie.”
Also, commit to regular one-on-one check-ins with your team. Take time for voice calls and video chat. This is an opportunity to chart progress, do a mini-evolution, and share feedback while ensuring your team feels heard.
5. Encourage strong work initiative
Can work with less supervision – now is the time put this work ethic into use. Save time from doing needless directions and explanations one by one.
Do all of them in one writing. Be concise to keep your team’s attention and ensure they understand their responsibilities. They should wade through paragraphs of your email and figure out their tasks for the day themselves.
But still, leave your door open for questions and clarifications.
6. Use different communication tools accordingly
Choosing the right communication medium is important. We have so many different ways to communicate at our disposal, so learn how to use them well.
- Emails: For detailed project briefs and descriptions to make sure everybody is on the same page.
- Instant messages: Use for quick clarifications and check-ins.
- Phone calls: For urgent matters that need quick attention and resolution.
- Video chat: For regular meetings and also best for screen sharing to better walk everyone through projects and solving technical issues.
7. Practice flexibility and patience
Inevitably, remote work shifts most communication to text-based formats like email and instant messaging. It’s very easy to misinterpret tone or have other communication issues using text-only.
But remember, this is your team. Don’t think they’re being disrespectful just because they wrote “Thanks” instead of “Thanks!”.
Likewise, you can set a good example by encouraging your team to have a work-life balance. You shouldn’t expect them to be available 24/7 and should work the same for you.
But, this is where the real flexibility comes in. Even if you set these parameters, you may have a team member contacting you urgently at 5 pm on a Sunday for clarification about something. Besides responding to it can build rapport and loyalty, especially in far-flung remote teams.
Keep a thriving remote working team
Work from home is redefining the way we do business nowadays. It provides flexibility and freedom to both employees and employers which unlock creativity, efficiency, and the drive needed for SMEs to succeed.
Practice the best communication habits in this article to embolden your team and make the most of the telecommuting era.