While there is a lot to love about the idea of remote work, there is no denying that keeping a remote team organized and engaged creates some big challenges. One of them is figuring out good ways to help the team stay connected as they work.
The goal here is twofold. First, it’s important to make sure that team members can efficiently talk with each other during business hours. It’s important for members of the team to be accessible and easy to reach, but it is equally important to make sure workers aren’t having their productivity harmed by being contacted all of the time.
The second goal is to create a sort of communication landscape that can enable a sense of comradery within the company. It can be hard to feel like an important part of a large team when that team is split all over the world; effective communication strategies can help bridge the gap and facilitate team building.
With these two goals in mind, here are some tips that can help any company looking to facilitate communication between remote workers.
1 – Schedule Regular Check-Ins
When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your colleagues. One way to prevent that is to schedule regular check-ins to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
You could do one-on-one meetings, team meetings, or even just informal coffee breaks. By doing this, you’ll make sure your remote workers don’t feel isolated. This also makes it easier to identify issues that your team members may be having, whether they are work-related or personal problems.
Just keep in mind that these check-ins can feel frustrating or invasive if they happen too often or take too long. This is a practice that needs to be employed with tact and moderation.
2 – Use Video Conferences
Video conferencing tools can be a great way to help remote workers feel more connected. When you can see and hear your colleagues, it’s almost like you’re in the same room!
You can use video conferencing for brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and even virtual happy hours. Of course, this becomes less effective when there are just too many people on a video call. If you are running a large organization, it can be advantageous to split the team into smaller groups for these video conferences. Or to choose a few team leaders to be on the video call while the rest of the team participates via text or audio.
3 – Foster a Strong Company Culture
Even if your team is working remotely, it’s still important to have a strong company culture. This can be achieved through steps like having a strong company mission statement, celebrating birthdays and work anniversaries, or even organizing virtual team-building activities.
The key is to encourage your remote workers to participate, so they feel like they’re part of the team. This will help to strengthen the bonds between team members and create a sense of unity.
Just be wary that not everyone will be enthusiastic about participating in social company events, online or in person. It’s important not to create an environment where introverts feel like they’re being punished for wanting to abstain.
4 – Create Communication Channels
When you’re working remotely, it’s easy to feel like you’re working in a vacuum. Having official company communication channels can help combat this feeling.
One way to do this is by setting up a company chat channel where everyone can easily chat with each other. Having specific messaging apps and work emails that workers are supposed to use to contact each other is also useful.
Having designated communication channels can also help with work/life balance. One of the challenges of remote work is trying to make sure you’re not dealing with work inquiries 24/7. And having official communication channels makes it easier for employees to sign out of those channels outside of their office hours.
5 – Provide the Right Tools
Don’t assume that everyone has access to the same tools and technological conveniences that you have. An important part of keeping your team connected is making sure everyone has access to the tools they need. Whether it be strong internet connections, fast and reliable computers, high-end smartphones, or anything else you and the rest of your team rely on.
It’s a good idea to check what kind of hardware your workers have access to. And either suggest an upgrade or buy them better tools when needed. These can take the form of a company cell phone or laptop or maybe a better microphone or webcam to make communication easier.
Of course, one of the downsides of buying hardware for employees is that it can break. But there are ways to make that less likely. If you invest in a fleet of Apple MacBooks for your remote workers, for example, you can help them last longer by making the use of an apple screen protector mandatory. There are plenty of those around, as this website shows.