In today’s digitally connected society, technology has made it practical, easy and efficient to work remotely. 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 in office teams, but as a leader, you need the right strategy and follow-through for your employees to thrive in a telecommuting role. When managers don’t have the right resources, work processes and communication practices in place, missed deadlines, mistakes and turnover are common.
Here are three communication tips that can help ensure you have a cohesive, productive and successful remote team.
Communicate with intention
As a leader, you need to compensate for the fact that your staff will not have regular face to face interaction with one another. Be intentional about checking in with your team, returning calls and responding to emails. Keep lines of communication open by establishing a consistent system for checking on work progress, asking for feedback, and staying updated on the status of projects.
Share weekly priorities and updates through team emails. Schedule team huddles regularly via video chats on Skype or Google Hangouts. Having the ability to communicate face to face through video chats helps employees feel more connected to colleagues and improves overall team performance.
Keep communication interesting
Being intentional about communication is only one piece of effectively communicating with your team. It is also important to consistently communicate and keep communication on point, but interesting. Thanks to today’s technology, there are many ways you can creatively interact with your team.
Record short videos for your team 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. Highlight your team’s accomplishments and offer feedback and encouragement. A positive message can inspire your staff to work harder and make the extra effort or push through challenging projects.
Start a Facebook group for employees. 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.
Set expectations and hold employees accountable
The final parts of an effective communication plan are setting expectations for employees. Be up front with team members about what you expect they accomplish weekly. Create measurable goals that allow you and the employees to track progress. When team members don’t complete their weekly activities, schedule a private phone call to discuss setbacks, distractions, and steps that can be taken to improve. By clearly defining what you want to see and holding team members accountable, your team will work better and more cohesively overall.