The pandemic is now defining the way we communicate, not only on a day-to-day basis but also in the way we communicate within the work place.
Remote working is now the norm (previously most companies only used to offer this as a means of flexible working). It also requires a different mind-set as it needs greater discipline to avoid the pitfalls of team members feeling isolated.
Now we are using applications such as zoom to run our day-to-day working lives, how do we get the best out of this new form of communication in order that we achieve the best results we can. A lot of this happened for companies without any form of transition - the good news id it’s new for a lot of us!
Here are a few ideas we have been using on how to effectively communicate with our remote working team;
- A great many of us (including UEA) are used to working together as a tight knit team in an office environment - we are now separated, so first of all its essential that everyone has a sense of belonging - we are not together physically but we remain connected!
- Set your team up for success - give everyone clear and measurable goals so individuals know what they are striving to achieve. Make these goals clear and without ambiguity. These can then be evaluated and discussed in regular update and feedback meetings. Remember to praise good news stories!
- Communicate often - morning, and if possible afternoon and/or close of business. Everyone can feedback on achievements, areas of difficulty and then the whole team is able to support, give praise, empathy as well as advise on areas of concern.
- Managers need to be available to lead and motivate at all times - now more than ever! Check in with your team often - they will appreciate it.
- If you have large teams - can any individuals who are struggling have a “remote buddy”- someone they can call and voice concerns or bounce ideas on?
- Frequent individual check-ins also gives an opportunity to speak up – someone may not have decided to raise a problem in a group chat but if anything can be brought to the surface it adds to the feeling of not being isolated
- Although we are talking often, on the practical side is there a central place where information can be stored? Easy access of information adds to ease of communication and vital information or data not being lost.
- Empower your people - these are strange times. No one has all the answers. Give your team a say and let them be heard, i.e. setting their own daily KPI’s or a chance to give new ideas etc.
- Mix things up! Can a member of your team lead the morning meeting - will give kudos and a sense of value.
- Encourage knowledge and the sharing of ideas - the most successful teams are those who collaborate together and share a sense of togetherness. Now is not the time for anyone to be an island!!
- Forget email conversations if you can - they get lost in the ether and lose their impact. Call, discuss and engage!
- Make communication fun - add humour- set a weekly incentive with a small and meaningful prize - we do this here and its good fun!
- Check on wellbeing - it’s hard out there. How are they coping, how are they feeling?
That’s a few of my thoughts. It is by no means exhaustive and I welcome new ideas to ensure we stay connected so please let me know any success stories on how you keep your team connected!
One thing is for sure, whilst at first the idea of remote working was very much needs must, many businesses are discovering the benefits of remote working so now is the time to find out what works for you and your team – these are lessons we will never forget!