Remote work is on the rise. More and more employees are choosing to become remote so they can enjoy the benefits of a flexible work arrangement. According to 2017 research by Intuit, 60 percent of employees have a more flexible work schedule than they did 10 years ago. But there are definite challenges to working remotely as well. For starters, there are some serious communication hurdles to jump over. If you’re planning to work remotely, it’s important to consider how you’ll communicate and collaborate digitally with your team.
Managing a remote team can be a daunting task. Communication is at the heart of successful remote work, and it’s important to make sure everyone knows what’s happening at all times. Don’t worry, though! We’ve outlined a handful of tips to improve remote work communication with your team and, by extension, improve overall productivity.
Send a weekly recap of what you’ve done, and what you’re still working on
The weekly recap of what you’ve done and what you’re still working on can be a great motivator. And no matter how busy you are, it’s worth taking the time to write a weekly recap. The personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment you get from creating and reviewing your weekly recap can be so rewarding that you’ll be motivated to create another one.
If you send a weekly recap email of what’s going on in your life and what you’re working on, the people in your life will know what you want to work on, and help you stay on track.
Have regular meetings
Whether you’re telecommuting or working from another location entirely, regular office meetings are an important part of effective communication. When everyone communicates clearly, it’s easier to organize and direct the team, which benefits everyone. However, if meetings aren’t regularly happening, everyone on the team can feel like they’re not properly represented, and that communication is inefficient.
Meet via video conference when possible
Video conferencing isn’t just for big businesses anymore. It’s becoming a popular way for small businesses to save money and keep employees happy. Since remote workers are so prevalent, apps like Skype/Zoom/Slack make it possible to hold meetings from various locations and communicate with team members from across the globe.
Use project management software
Businesses today face a myriad of challenges as they try to keep their projects on time and on budget. And project management software can help. Without the right project management software, it’s easy to get lost and lose track of project schedules and tasks. That’s why it’s essential to have the right project management software in place for your business. Project management software will give you greater visibility on projects, letting you focus on what matters most.
Create a culture where communication is expected
Communication is the foundation of every successful interaction, whether with a client, coworker, or family member. Leaders must convey information clearly and consistently while fostering open communication, so team members feel they’re heard. Communication is key, no matter how big or small your projects or business may be. Having a strong communication culture in your company is a critical component to your success.
Encourage team members to seek feedback
We all want to be great at our jobs, but a lot of people also secretly dread having to offer constructive feedback. After all, it can feel awkward saying that to a colleague, or that they might take it the wrong way. However, offering feedback in the right way can have many benefits for the whole team. When people give and receive feedback, they learn and grow. It can lead to more constructive interactions in the future, and can even be a step toward creating a more cohesive and supportive work environment.
As a leader, it’s important for you to encourage your team to seek feedback. Whether it’s written or spoken, feedback helps you grow as a leader. When you’re not encouraged to seek feedback, not only will you not grow, but your team may not grow either.
Communicating with your team on a daily basis is important but communicating is also about encouraging communication. There are many tools that you can use that force remote workers to collaborate effectively. (From tracking project milestone to breaking down communication barriers, there are many tools that can help.)
But allowing your team members to communicate freely is vital. Remember the saying, “two heads are better than one”? Well, it’s true, when it comes to communication. Collaboration and knowledge sharing require people to be receptive to new ideas and input, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, open lines of communication are a powerful enabler.