And here’s the kicker: Since companies no longer rely on physical offices, businesses can save around $11,000 per year for each half-time remote employee.
In other words, remote work is here to stay. It’s a win-win situation for both businesses and employees.
However, although maintaining strong communication between teams has always been essential, remote work requires a lot more attention. Otherwise, you may risk increasing the number of human errors and getting out of touch with your employees.
That said, let’s take a look at a few ways you can improve communication during remote work.
1. Create An Internal Newsletter
Your team should always be up-to-speed with what’s going on in your company, as it helps members gauge how well your company is doing and get an idea of how their efforts contribute to the business’s well-fare.
In contrast to in-office teams, where employees could stay up-to-date with the latest company news by simply asking a colleague or manager, with remote work, it’s another story.
After all, the lack of physical space makes it harder for teams to reach out to one another. The fix?
A dedicated company newsletter should do the trick. It’s a quick and easy way to get teams briefed on the latest changes and happenings within a company. Besides, it’s a great idea to cut down on the number of unnecessary meetings, which ultimately waste time and hinder productivity.
2. Diversify Your Toolset
Communication tools like Slack and Zoom are often no-brainers. However, you’ll need to diversify your arsenal to make the most out of your team. Think project management and monitoring tools like Trello, Asana, and Toggl, for instance.
These platforms are great for team management, tracking who does what, and spot weaknesses within your team’s workflow.
Also, use file storage services like Google Drive or OneDrive. They are excellent for organizing your documents and eliminating the hassle of continuously sending files back and forth to your team.
Lastly, keep in mind that you might be better off by paying the extra buck for some tools, rather than using their free versions. For instance, although Zoom’s free version comes in handy, its paid plans may make all the difference for remote teams.
That’s because they offer plenty of extra features designed to improve productivity, like additional cloud storage, polling, meeting reports, automatic recording transcripts, and more.
Besides, there are plenty of coupon codes on the internet. DontPayFull has a 30% discount for the first year of Zoom Pro, free extra storage for your Dropbox account upon signup, and more.
3. Focus On Smaller Meetings
Although holding large meetings with all your team members at once might seem tempting, as it allows you to save a little more time, this practice may cause more harm than good.
It increases the chances of misunderstandings within your company and hinders productivity. It doesn’t help in keeping participants engaged in the conversation either.
This is especially true if you work with teams across multiple departments or time zones. Consider holding more frequent, small meetings with up to 10 team members.
Sure, you’ll have to repeat yourself a few times, but this helps get your message across. Not to mention that working with smaller groups of people makes it easier for you to keep participants engaged.
Thus, team members will retain information better while you eliminate the risk of creating potential confusion.
5. Encourage Open Communication
One of the main setbacks of remote work is that it’s not as easy to bond with team members as in an office environment—a crucial factor for establishing trust, strengthening communication and generally creating a more relaxed work environment.
It doesn’t mean it isn’t impossible, but it requires a little more time and effort.
First off, consider dedicating around 10 minutes at the start of each meeting to check in on your team and talk about non-work-related subjects. This helps ease the atmosphere and help improve meeting engagement.
Secondly, establish official and unofficial communication channels. This way, you’ll strike a balance between work and personal life without having these components interfere with each other.
On the one hand, team members have a place to talk about work-related subjects and focus on their tasks, while on the other, they have room to discuss their day-to-day lives, which allows members to get to know each other better and build stronger relationships.
Lastly, you can schedule meetings dedicated to catching up with team members.
5. Establish Communication Guidelines
Establishing a set of guidelines will help streamline workflow and organize your team. That said, specify what each communication channel is for, when they are open and closed, the expected response time, what is considered appropriate or inappropriate, etc.
Overall, communication during remote work is not as difficult as it might seem. It only requires a little adaptation. For instance, creating an internal newsletter is an excellent idea for keeping your employees in the know with company news.
Also, you’ll need to have the right tools. Aside from regular communication tools, implement project management, team monitoring, and file storage software if necessary.
In terms of strengthening team relationships and improving productivity, make sure to focus on meeting with smaller groups, dedicate time specifically to getting to know your team, and have communication guidelines in place.