19th June 2020
With Coronavirus heavily dictating how we live and work, teams are having to completely redefine the way that they communicate with their colleagues. While working remotely used to be offered by some employers as a benefit to provide a more flexible lifestyle to their employees, it has now become a new ‘normal’ for many businesses.
Once a privilege, remote working has been a challenge that a lot of employers and their staff have had to navigate at the last minute, having no time to plan or prepare for the change to their work culture.
Yet, despite the obvious hurdles that companies are having to overcome, the Coronavirus pandemic has given us one positive thing – it is revolutionising the workplace as teams are completely changing the way they work and communicate.
Remote working is drastically changing the way employees interact with the rest of the team and their managers. To help employees maintain their productivity levels and not feel disconnected, businesses should set up additional virtual check-ins for employees with managers and introduce new tools for virtual meetings.
Since employees are now working from home until further notice (and without any form of transition), it’s really important to stay engaged and communicating with your team for a number of reasons:
- We are all feeling the isolating impact of lockdown, and even though those measures are slowly started to ease off, there’s likely still a way to go before life returns to ‘normal’.
- Motivation and productivity can easily suffer when working from home.
- Meetings and other conversations still need to go ahead to assist in achieving as close to business as usual as possible.
- Reliability and accountability can falter when some people feel like they aren’t being kept track of.
- Projects require collaboration, and that’s hard to do without communication.
- Staff work better when they are engaged.
These are just a few of the reasons why communication is so important. Read on to find out our top tips for working remotely in 2020.
Best Practices for Managing a Remote Team
According to research, 39% of people working from home complete their tasks faster than those in fixed workplaces.
However, in order to set them up for success, employers should set clear and measurable (SMART) goals for their remote employees.
With remote teams – where communication is more challenging, and things can get lost in translation – it’s important to be crystal clear about their duties and responsibilities.
Have an Internal Communications Strategy
Engaging your remote employees will be mission impossible if your overall communication strategy isn’t on point. .
Employers should put effort into prioritising employee relationships and engagement efforts.
Regular virtual ‘all hands in’ meetings are crucial to keeping everyone on the same page and helps staff to remember and understand core company values.
This is especially true for remote employees who do not have the opportunity to communicate with their coworkers in person on a day to day basis.
Check in Frequently
It’s easy to feel disconnected from your work mates when you don’t get to go into the office every day, so managers who lead remote teams need to make themselves available.
Frequent check-ins with remote workers are essential to helping them overcome challenges that come with remote work.
It’s not enough to simply wait for an employee to speak up. They may not feel they want to (or even can) speak to you about their worries, so be proactive about addressing issues. Even if you just check in once a day to say hi and make sure everything is okay, at least your staff know you are there and available if you are needed.
Make Collaboration more Efficient
Team collaboration is one of the main factors for great productivity and many employers are trying to improve the way remote teams work together. Team collaboration and employee engagement solutions are one of the best ways to eliminate the challenges faced by most companies who have remote employees.
Provide Employees with the Information they Need
Staff should not have to go hunting to find relevant information. It should be readily available for them in communal place whenever they need it.
Make sure that any information that your staff might need to access, especially while working remotely, is in a central and easily accessible place.
Looking for an HR system where you can store all of your business documents centrally and securely? Look no further than Staff Squared. Book a 15-minute Introductory Tour today to find out how Staff Squared can help you to manage your files.
Encourage Continuous Engagement
Do you have a central place where all your employees can easily collaborate and engage on a daily basis? With modern internal communications tools, employees can now instantly share interesting content from within the company.
If not, consider implementing a similar system and encourage your remote employees to stay engaged and join the conversations even if they are not physically there.
Make Collaboration and Communication Fun
We don’t live to work, and so employers should look to add some fun to collaboration where possible. Here at Staff Squared, we have a dedicated Teams channel to general chit-chat, where we are able to converse with our colleagues outside of work topics. It really helps us to maintain our relationships and stops us from being too serious all the time – we all need a little break away from the hum drum from time to time, at the end of the day.
This is a great approach not only to engage everyone but also to share a piece of company culture that remote employees cannot experience as often as non-remote employees.
Empower your Remote Employees
Remote workers want to be a part of decision making in companies that they work for, and employers should empower their remote employees to make their own decisions, communicate and implement new ideas.
According to research on employee empowerment, employees who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at the 24th percentile.
On the other side, those with a high level of empowerment were at the 79th percentile. Clearly, empowerment counts.
Encourage Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing among employees is beneficial for both company success and employee development. For remote teams or employees, fostering a culture of knowledge sharing is critical as they may have less opportunity for in-person knowledge sharing or social learning.
Luckily, modern technology solutions make knowledge sharing much easier – even when employees are located on the other side of the world.
Encourage Peer-to-Peer Feedback
Peer-to-peer feedback is a great way to connect remote employees. This is just another way to encourage their collaboration and communication and to learn from each other.
In order for peer-to-peer feedback to be more successful and motivational, you may think of implementing a rewards and recognition program.
Train your Managers
It is crucial for managers to understand how remote employees should be led and managed. In fact, 56% of employees believe that managers should update their skills to support a remote team.
Train your managers on best practices for communicating with your company’s remote teams.
Forget about Email Conversations
Remote communication can distort the normal pace of employee conversations. How many times have you written an email and felt concerned about how it would land and if someone will read it or not?
While emails are, and always will be, an important element of workplace communication, they should not be the only (or primary) way of internal communications. There are now so many other tools that offer instant communication in which information does not get buried.
There are even tools designed to overcome communication barriers remote work brings into organisations.
Technological innovations simplify remote communication and team collaboration, and give distributed teams just as much of an opportunity to be engaged as teams who spend their days working between the same four walls.
Read more about remote working in our blog, Making the Shift to Remote Working: The Pros and Cons.
Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Care Team to provide our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software and is responsible for our day-to-day marketing activities and strategies.