Allowing employees to work remotely can provide many benefits. This working setup improves employee retention, lowers costs, and boosts productivity. Working remotely also allows employees to have freedom and flexibility with their schedules and save time from commuting.
Although beneficial to both employers and employees, working remotely also comes with several drawbacks. For one, you need to make sure that your employees are on the same page even when they’re not working in the same room. It’ll be challenging for any business to succeed if its employees aren’t communicating properly and regularly.
If you’re struggling to communicate with remote employees, these tips can help:
- Maximize Communication Tools
The advent of technology has changed different facets of businesses, and communication is just one. Today, there are countless apps and software that can become your tools in improving communication with remote employees.
Some of the communication tools you can invest in today are:
- Online fax: Unlike traditional fax machines, online fax services no longer require any hardware and software for you to send and receive files. This tool can also be linked to different email addresses and works with any smartphone.
- Online collaboration/productivity tools: These tools allow employees to chat and share documents in real-time. Online collaboration and productivity tools will make it easier for remote teams to share updates on projects and assign tasks among team members.
- Video and web conferencing: Regular meetings with employees are still essential even if they’re working remotely, and you can easily host one by using video and web conferencing tools. These tools provide more structure to your meetings and are more engaging than audio calls.
- Be Proactive When Communicating With Your Team
Investing in and introducing different communication tools to your remote workers will be useless if you don’t initiate making conversations with them. If you’re the owner or manager of the business, it’s crucial that you’re always proactive when communicating with your team as they’ll follow your behavior.
Maximize your communication tools by communicating with your remote workers often and early. Check in with your team first thing in the morning, send them a message to ask for updates, or simply send greetings during holidays. You can also utilize different communication tools to show appreciation to your remote workers.
Regardless of how occupied you are during the day, you should always have the time to reach out to your remote workers. This simple gesture can keep your remote workers engaged and motivate them to communicate with other team members as well.
- Make Your Intent Clear
The tone and language you use when communicating with remote workers also matter. Sending messages using different channels won’t foster clear communication if you’re using highfalutin words. This is especially true if your remote workers are from different parts of the globe.
When communicating with remote employees, always make your intent clear by:
- Avoiding confusing and vague words: Using vague words might allow you to showcase your vocabulary, but these words will only confuse your remote workers and prevent them from clearly understanding your message. If you want to communicate with remote workers, use simple words—ones that can be easily understood by anyone, regardless of their location and native language.
- Explaining details: Instead of merely giving out a phrase when assigning tasks to remote employees, be as detailed as possible. Be clear and explain all of the information necessary for that task, and encourage remote workers to ask questions.
- Providing the what, when, and how: For you to avoid sending several messages with the same intent, provide the what, when, and how in the message you’re going to send for the first time. This is a simple yet effective way of avoiding miscommunication.
- Create A Positive Office Culture Online
Having employees who aren’t working in the same room as you don’t mean that you should disregard the need to create an office culture. In fact, you should strive to create a positive office culture online as this can affect your remote workers’ engagement and morale.
Even if your employees are working remotely, you still need to make sure that they feel valued and appreciated. This can boost your employees’ morale and encourage them to stay longer in the company.
These tips can come in handy for you to create a positive office culture online:
- Celebrate your employees’ achievements: Celebrate your remote workers whenever they hit their target or milestone by creating an infographic with their name and picture, and then share it with the entire team. This is an excellent way of showing how you value your remote workers.
- Schedule online events: Having online events will make the workplace more fun and allow remote workers to de-stress. Some of the most common online events you can have are theme days and virtual trivia nights. If you want to take it up a notch, create a simple digital invitation and give this out to your remote workers to keep them excited.
- Get to know your employees personally: For you to create a positive office culture online, exert time and effort to know your virtual workers personally. Ask about their day, how they find their workloads, and if they have any suggestions to improve the business’s processes.
- Schedule Regular Virtual Meetings
It’s common for remote workers to make use of chats and messages when communicating with other team members. And, while convenient, these platforms don’t always guarantee effective communication, especially among remote workers living in different time zones.
To avoid miscommunication, always schedule regular virtual meetings. This should be done at least once a week to ensure that everyone in the team communicates with each other in real-time and actually see who they’re working with. Regular virtual meetings using video conferencing tools will enable the team to build relationships and prevent anyone from feeling like they’re working alone.
For you to host effective virtual meetings, set ground rules and make sure that all of the participants follow. For starters, you can require your remote employees to log in at least five minutes earlier than the set meeting schedule so they’ll have time to check their cameras and audio equipment.
Small Changes Count
Communicating with remote employees can be challenging, but it can always be done. Along with your willingness to foster healthy communication in your virtual workplace, gradually implement the tips presented in this article to your day-to-day operations. You’ll be surprised how these changes can improve your team’s communication and collaboration!