The importance of communicating effectively when working remotely
In the past 12 months, the way many people work has changed beyond recognition. In some cases, their job has disappeared completely, but for most, there has just been a shift from the morning commute and sitting in an office from nine to five.
This has been replaced with either a partial or full move to working remotely, which suits some businesses and employees more than others.
Taking a vibrant, interactive face-to-face environment and replacing it almost overnight can have major repercussions for both a business and the people who work within it. Gone are the impromptu chats that create and feed new ideas, and so are the human interactions that some people rely on to stay motivated, or are essential for their emotional wellbeing.
These need to be replaced quickly and effectively before any momentum a team had is lost. With that in mind, here are some ways to keep a team connected while working remotely.
#1 Find the best tool for the job
First things first. If it is vital that a team communicates, then they need an effective tool to do it. This tool needs to be easy to use and secure, as now a team is working remotely, communication and data are more open to cybercrime than it was in a secure office environment.
The majority of teams will opt to use Slack, as it is the market leader, however, it also has its drawbacks in that it can be too expensive for smaller companies, and as the platform is hosted on Slack’s servers, they are effectively in control of the data.
There are other alternatives such as Microsoft Teams, but researching all of them can take time the average small business owner doesn’t usually have. In which case, visiting a site such as mattermost.com can help you weigh up the various solutions very quickly.
#2 Maintain some sort of meeting structure
When a team is working remotely, the formal structure of the office has been removed, along with any structure the working day may have had. In such cases, team meetings need to take place, even if they are not vitally important, and even if they could be replaced by an email.
A meeting first thing in the morning creates a good starting point for the day and sets the tone (also for suspicious managers, it proves that staff isn’t still in bed). Important matters can be discussed even if they are already stated on the online platform, especially if the team is new to working remotely.
Equally important is a meeting at the end of the day, so people know when to down tools and don’t suffer from overwork and burnout, which is a typical consequence of homeworking for some.
#3 Find an informal communication platform
When a team works in an office there is a certain amount of communication that is not work-related but still has a positive effect on productivity. There needs to be a replacement when working remotely, so that banter, gossip, and things like showing workmate photos of pets can still take place. Many businesses would favor a WhatsApp group for this task.