How To Maintain Effective Employee Communication With Remote Teams?
The second half of 2021 saw many people returning to "normal" in many places, and thus, employers were planning return-to-work strategies for 2022. Then, the new pandemic strain emerged and forced companies to put their return-to-the-office plans on hold. As the pandemic enters its third year, more and more organizations realize the benefits of integrating remote work culture. In this current economic climate, many Fortune 500 companies and start-ups have said they will continue to allow their employees to work from home. Certainly, this would broaden the talent pool, but it can also cause communication problems among distributed team members.
Moreover, Upwork research estimates by 2025 that, there will be 36.2 million remote workers in the U.S. This clearly suggests that remote working is likely here to stay, so it's vital to find new ways to communicate effectively with your employees.
In this article, Rezolve.ai has outlined some major strategies to maintain smooth communication with the remote workforce. Before we go further, let's try to understand remote employee communication better.
What makes communication so crucial for the remote workforce?
"Communication is the key to success" – which is why corporate houses of all sizes emphasize effective communication. Communication is all about sharing ideas between employees and the organization's management. Maintaining robust and long-lasting working relationships at all levels of an organization depends on effective communication. When employers invest in a clear line of communication, they quickly build trust amongst their employees, resulting in higher levels of productivity, output, and morale.
The incidents from the last two years have brought a more significant focus on communication since most organizations function these days remotely. In the absence of effective communication, employees may become disengaged, inexperienced, and unproductive due to personal reasons or technological advancements.
Barriers to Effective Remote Communication
- There is no empathy or trust.
- Inadequate access to the right information
- Managerial communication is restricted
- Workplace conflicts
- Job dissatisfaction or disinterest
- Cultural and linguistic differences
Tips for maintaining effective communication in a remote work environment
To better serve their remote employees, businesses should refine their communication practices now. Use these tips to enhance internal communication no matter how long your company has been working from home or how new you are to it.
- Invest in the right collaboration tools to streamline your communication
Companies have started to move away from a traditional 9 am to 5 pm work culture and have adopted a flexible and remote working culture. Employees require the right tools to support this remote work culture, and that's why collaboration tools and software are gaining more significance than ever. As per the statistics of Gartner, 80% of employees used collaboration tools last year to communicate with their teammates. Collaborative work takes up about 50% of employees' time. It makes sense to bring employee support to the places employees spend the most time and are familiar with.
There are several collaboration tools available today, such as MS Teams, Zoom, Slack, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Trello, etc., that are helping remote employees stay productive by providing a flexible work environment. Hence, employers should implement the right collaboration platform for their remote employees.
Relevant Article: Prioritize workplace collaboration in 2022.
- Maximize your technology resources.
While working remotely, it is crucial to set up technological equipment for each employee's success to improve communication and productivity. It begins with providing each employee with the necessary equipment to complete their work efficiently, including a laptop, cables, and monitors, if applicable. Ensure that everyone has access to team tools, such as internet portals, virtual collaboration platforms, and other team tools.
IT support can be handy in ensuring that the appropriate technology setup, security settings, and access needs are in place for each employee and the whole company. This reduces the technology barriers between you and your remote employees, enabling more efficient, effective communication.
- Communicate about remote work's challenges.
It's no secret that working remotely has its own set of challenges. If your employees have previously worked from the office, they may find it difficult to adjust to this new schedule, balancing work and family life, or relying more on digital platforms. Thus, remote employees need to be aware of potential challenges. Before implementing remote work, the manager's responsibility is to make teammates aware of communication difficulties, technical issues, procrastination, and work-life balance that could occur in remote work. This will help employees to adapt to such challenges and work.
- Schedule a One-On-One meeting
Team managers regularly use one-to-one virtual meetings. During these meetings, remote employees and their managers typically discuss their assignments or issues they face in the workplace. Meetings of this type prevent employees from feeling left out or unheard.
- Communicate in a clear and concise manner
For efficient and accurate communication, clarity and conciseness are essential attributes. As covid-19 cases proliferate, face-to-face meetings, initially held weekly, are moved to a remote environment. Therefore, clear and concise communication between employees are more critical than ever. If you want to be clear and concise in all situations, you should:
- Provide information in advance and allow ample time for review before meetings.
- Communicate clearly and naturally.
- Do not use monologues, long explanations, technical jargon, or rhetorical questions.
- Ensure everyone has a chance to speak by calling them by name.
- Express your expectations clearly and precisely.
- Provide a clear recap with action items.
Conclusion: Take Good Care of Your Remote Employee Communications
If you are a remote team manager or an employer, you should prioritize employee communication and collaboration in the workplace. The right collaboration platforms are one of the best ways to ensure continuous communication with remote teams. The collaboration platform connects all employees working on the same project and makes the most of their ability to contribute to whatever they are working on. It also ensures higher employee engagement, enhances productivity, reduces costs and gives employees greater flexibility. Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular team collaboration software platforms where employees can conveniently work from remote locations, from various devices and avoid the risk of communication breakdowns.
We hope this article helped you better understand remote employee communication.
Read: How Microsoft Teams assists remote employees in this new normal?