Today’s technology plays a big part
In today’s digitally connected workforce, technology has made it practical, easy and efficient to work remotely. But while our tech has reduced the barriers of working outside a traditional office, telecommuting won’t work without another crucial component: a targeted and effective communication plan with your staff.
Remote teams have the potential to be just as productive as co-located staffs, but as a manager, you need the right strategy and follow-through for your workers to thrive in a telecommuting role. For managers who don’t have their staff close at hand, missed deadlines, mistakes and turnover are common without the right resources, work processes and most importantly, communication practices.
These considerations can help you ensure you have a cohesive, productive and successful remote team.
Communication at the core
Communication is crucial for remote teams. You’ll have to compensate for the fact that your staff will not have regular face to face interaction. You can minimize feelings of disconnect with a proactive approach.
Be deliberate about checking in with your staff and returning calls and emails. Keep lines of communication open. Establish a consistent system for checking on work progress and staying updated on the status of projects. Remote teams will benefit from the structure and direction that kind of system gives them. Effective processes allow work to be completed in the hand-off environment of remote teams.
Share weekly priorities and updates with daily team emails. Huddle regularly for video chats on Skype or Google Hangouts. Reaching out often by phone, email or video conference helps employees feel more connected to colleagues, that they are part of a team.
Share your schedule and calendar. Make clear your availability each week, the best times to reach you, including how and when. If you’re away, in a meeting or out for the day, make use of office alerts to keep your staff in the loop.
+ On occasion, record and send a short video to your team. It’s easy to record via the webcam on your computer or with your smartphone. Your team will benefit from the face time. Share a quick thought about the previous week and your expectations or team objectives for the current week. It doesn’t always have to be hard-hitting business, either. Highlight your team’s accomplishments and offer feedback and encouragement. A positive message can inspire your staff to work harder, make extra effort or push through challenging projects.
+ Create and share a newsletter and encourage your staff to write short bios, a few lines about their hobbies a personal column, inspiring quotes or fun facts about your industry or business.
+ Start a Facebook group for staff. Make it a place where your team can share news about your industry, offer feedback, create and organize team-building events and highlight accomplishments among staff.