How To Manage Communication With A Remote Team

Remote work has been a part of the employment landscape for a while and the internet has played a very prominent role in ensuring opportunities to work off-site are abundant. Technology has also enabled work environments that are more flexible, and workers have been demanding more flexibility. It’s a true win-win, companies get the best talent and save on facilities costs and employees get to work on their terms (when they want, where they want), eliminating the hassle and expense of commuting.

As more and more companies offer employees the opportunity to work remotely, team leaders and managers have realized that managing a remote team requires a different approach than managing an in-house team.

In managing a remote team, a noteworthy point is to ensure that the team’s work relates to the company’s mission and values. It can be easy to give a remote worker a task list without helping them understand how their work contributes to the business goals. If they, however, know the “Why” they can be a part of the creative process to help reach the company’s goals. Another noteworthy point is to make sure each team member has multiple tasks on their plate and is clear on their priorities.

There are several activities that promote effective communication in a remote team. However, each team is unique, and these tips may not necessarily apply to everyone:

Get to know your team members

The first step in communicating effectively with your remote team members is to get to know them. Make efforts to get to know their personal lives, career interests, and ideas for the team or the organization. As the manager, you should encourage them to communicate with other members of the team and to get to know each other outside of the office. The more they interact with each other, the easier it is for them to work together. In the long run, this supports productivity and promotes unity within the organization.

Maximize team involvement

Team meetings are important for both in-house and remote working staff. However, the in-house staff has an advantage of being present when milestones are achieved and are kept up-to-date on issues that the organization may be encountering. Remote team members to an extent, work independently and so may be unaware of activities that occur outside of the tasks assigned to them. Meetings ensure that everyone is kept in the loop and is well informed about what is going on in the organization. It’s important to keep the meetings brief and straight to the point to condition team members to work within a set time stamp.

Use virtual communication tools

Chatting is changing the game for digital teams and there are plenty options to choose from; Slack, Google Hangout, Trello, and Skype. Virtual communication tools help give team members immediate access to discuss ideas and get answers to questions in a timely manner. It also grants them access to see what other members are up to and where projects are in different phases. Making use of document storage tools like Dropbox and Google Drive, and calendars like Google Calendar, Calendly and Microsoft Outlook is also important when working remotely. In a recent article, remote-work tracking company Time Doctor, advises you streamline your communication tools. This can help remove repetitive discussions across several tools.

Create shared experiences

Having a team work through a challenging situation together really brings people together as they have a common experience and know how each person works under stressful conditions. Organizing a team retreat is advised, this will create an opening for the team to go through some kind of simulation in-person.

Celebrate successes and milestones

Working remotely can isolate team members and make them feel like their work is unimportant and unacknowledged. It is advisable to keep up team morale and reward good work by publicly recognizing accomplishments. Communicate with team members, let them know that they are valued and useful to the organization. There is nothing that energizes a team more than feeling that they worked together to accomplish something.

Working remotely promotes a healthy work-life balance which in turn facilitates mental health and stability which is great. However, knowing your team and how to communicate with them is essential for appropriate workplace interactions.

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