A key to success in any business is great communication between an employer and its employees. Whether you are hosting a meeting, emailing back and forth, putting together a proposal or on the phone with a client, communication is at the forefront of everything. There is a big shift in employers offering their employees the option to work remotely or from home— it is the way of the future for a modern-day workplace. While this is a huge benefit for employees, it can often lead to new challenges for managers trying to engage and motivate their team. Even with the presence of advanced communication technology through instant messaging services and video conferencing platforms, it’s vital that you master the art of communicating with your employees so that your business can succeed.
Simple steps to improve remote worker communications:
It is important to recognize that remote employees are part of the team and should be treated as such. The more proactive you are, the more smoothly your team and employees will operate. This means that managers should be holding regular meetings with employees. Whether it be on the phone, Skype, or in person, this is a chance to provide feedback and recognition to all team members. Proactively respond to your remote employees as quickly as possible to be “present”, as if they were sitting down the hall from you. By engaging with them on a regular basis you will help eliminate anything getting lost in translation or projects slipping through the cracks. Make your remote people just as much a priority as you do for your local employees.
When working with a team of people in any business, the first thing you need to do at the beginning of a project is set terms and expectations so that everyone is on the same page.1 This applies to your remote workers as well. By defining your goals, they know what is expected of them and when. Create a timeline of status updates and due dates to ensure things are getting done properly and efficiently.
As a manager with remote employees, you will want to make sure everyone is using the same communication platforms to help run your business efficiently. If you are using a selection of instant messaging services and video conferencing platforms for different remote employees within your team, not only can the team not communicate effectively, but things will get lost in the shuffle very quickly. 1 Instead, make sure all remote employees have the same programs downloaded and are trained to use them effectively. By providing a communications platform such as GMAIL, Slack, or Basecamp, you will improve communications between team members and streamline your work process. This will help team members discuss everyday tasks & projects as well as stay up to date on company announcements or news.
It is vital to encourage and make it easy for remote employees to ask questions or get the information they need quickly. Engage with your remote workers on a daily basis through some kind of communication— email or phone call. In addition, plan a regularly scheduled face-to-face meeting. This can be weekly, monthly or annually, and could be combined with a training, event or team building initiative.
An array of new technologies has emerged to meet employers’ and remote employees’ needs for secure and productive ways to get work done.2 As working remote becomes increasingly more common, it is vital to improve remote worker communications to keep your business successful and operating smoothly.
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