Even in such an advanced and modern world ruled by technology and devices, communicating effectively is still as challenging as ever. With companies moving their employees from an office setup to a work-from-home setup, the struggle to communicate and collaborate is now in focus. How can you communicate efficiently with your employees? How can you ensure corporate policies are being followed? Is it still possible to build an office culture when you are out of the office?
In the office, you are connected by hallways, cubicles, offices, and even by the PABX system supplier. You have devices and systems that allow you to track the progress of each team and department. The nuances in face-to-face conversations are lost in emails, messengers, and teleconference.
But although remote work seems daunting at first, this is the future of a successful business. If you want to save on operational costs now and in the future, a remote work system is something you should put in place. These simple pointers should help you effectively communicate with your team:
Don’t wait for your team members to reach out to you and ask questions. You should be the one to proactive reach out to them in the morning. Ask them questions. Meet with them individually. Hold meetings weekly. They need to acknowledge and realize your presence if they don’t see you face-to-face. If they think you’re not monitoring their tasks, they will not be as productive and efficient as they should be.
Maintain Regular Hours
The point of working from home is to have flexible hours. This means that your employees can work whenever they want during the day. However, to maintain a work-life balance, advise your employees to follow the regular schedule. This means that they still have to finish all they’re supposed to do in a day. While they can take a break anytime they want, have clear guidelines on what they’re supposed to submit every day. This way, they will still contribute daily to the goals of the company.
Organize Video Calls
If you can, make a video call to your team at least once a day or twice a week. Video calls are the next best thing to face-to-face communication. Remote work can be isolating, especially for those who are used to seeing people at work. Encourage your team to video-call each other, too. They should continue getting to know each other even if they are working apart for now. If you have employees from another time zone, try to fold them into these meetings. They should feel valued, too.
Maintain a Business Number
You don’t have to get a separate SIM card or landline number. You can use a different Skype or Zoom username. Try not to use your personal number when dealing with colleagues and other business associates. This will stop you from messaging your friends when you’re on the clock. On your business phone, you don’t have the numbers of your friends and family. This stops you from reaching out to them when you’re supposed to work. The same goes for your employees. Ask them to create separate profiles for their work.
Adopt New Communication Tools
Email isn’t the only communication method you can use for remote work. There are other communication tools and project management software such as Trello, Basecamp, Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, and Asana. These tools were created to make managing remote-based employees easier. With these tools, you can chat, make video calls, share screens, and send attachments.
Make sure that your staff has the same communication tools, and that these are accessible to them. If any of these tools require a premium account, offer to pay for the account and share the password (if that is allowed) with them.
Watch Your Tone
Even though you cannot be seen or heard in an email, you can still convey your message in the right tone. Readers can always “hear” the tone of how an email is written. Be extra careful when composing emails to colleagues. Be respectful. If you aren’t sure how your email sounds like, there are sites such as Grammarly that check the tone of your message.
Do what you can to maintain the office culture even if you’re working outside an actual office. The informal conversations and interactions that happen in an office are critical in building the office culture. Don’t lose this. Encourage your employees to continue communicating with each other even if it’s outside work. Even though building office culture is on pause at the moment, create opportunities to connect with your employees.