How have you fared in the largest work from home experiment ever? Was that a big “sigh” I heard?
Considering how quickly businesses transitioned, you may not have had the time for training on new tools or communication methods; it was sink or swim!
Communication is a huge part of staying in touch with your coworkers, staff and your manager. Hopefully you have been able to make your work from home scenario work, but if you’re still limping along or just want a better experience, read on to uncover some communication tips that will improve your day.
1. Be proactive and reach out
Whether you’re a team member or leader, reach out and touch base. When you are proactive with your communication, it will help others feel comfortable reaching out to you in return. Simple greetings in the morning or setting up a virtual coffee/lunch to discuss a project you are working on can help you connect and communicate, plus get work accomplished.
Slack, Microsoft Teams, and unified communication tools can really help with anything from quick correspondence to project specific documentation. As well, picking up the phone or a quick video chat may help you connect better if what you’re discussing requires more back and forth to make a decision.
Pro tip: Commit to communicating with your coworkers by marking your To Do List or calendar to get it done. It will make your work from home experience much better!
2. Schedule regular communication
Are you working on a long-term project or simply needing to touch base on multiple ongoing tasks and accomplishments? Schedule in the communication. It is important to communicate with your coworkers and manager regularly. Go ahead and pick a time where the team or a coworker can get together. Whether you focus the time in a chat, use video conferencing or set up a conference call, there are a lot of ways to connect quickly and meet your goals of accomplishing a project or making a personal connection.
Pro tip: Microsoft Teams makes it easy to connect quickly through an app on any device. Use it for random chats, calls, video conferencing or project-related meetings and correspondence.
3. Setup a ‘digital water cooler’ or ‘random’ conversation channel
The purpose here is to provide social interaction for the company staff. Without social interaction of some kind, staff will find a way on their own or not communicate—which would be worse. Encourage people to participate from the outset. Our team has maintained a “random” channel for several years now, which is used for anything from cartoons and community happenings, to weekend events and memes. This type of communication connects your company, boosts confidence in work and maximizes team-building, as well as productivity.
Pro tip: At the start, set some parameters for the channel or space and how it should be used. Encourage each person to post something in the first week. In this way all staff will feel comfortable using the tool and will more than likely use the tool moving forward.
4. Schedule in-person meetings from time-to-time
Will all your staff go back to the office? Or will you maintain the new work from home scenario? Post-pandemic, when you feel more comfortable scheduling an in-person meeting, you should! On a quarterly basis, meet in-person to discuss productivity, performance or a large project that may require more discussion.
Pro tip: Prioritize your in-person meetings. Calendarize your meetings in advance so that you don’t miss when they need to occur and they become part of a cadence.
5. As a company, establish communication guidelines
Establish guidelines on how to use digital platforms to share information and communicate. You want all team members to be communicating, however, you also don’t want people to fall into information overload either.
Be certain to celebrate group achievements, wins and company news. These can be short and quick or longer items, but the point is to recognize groups and employees and report to others on what is happening. Also, encourage transparency among your guidelines. Encourage debriefings and discussions in teams, even digitally.
Pro tip: Have a brainstorm discussion on what it means to be a good digital colleague with your staff. Come to agreement on what that is and how you see it in action. Ask managers to discuss it with all of your staff.
Do you need help with your business technology, culture and company policies as it relates to your remote workforce? Please contact us today! In addition, download our new guidebook: Making Remote Work, Well, Work. It includes a checklist for enabling your remote workforce.