In the lockdowns triggered by the pandemic, remote working emerged as a safe and viable option. It ensured business continuity. As per Global Workplace Analytics, the proportion of remote workers has seen an increase of 150%. Furthermore, according to Upwork, by the end of 2028, 73% of total teams in the global workforce will be inclusive of remote workers. Many organizations are planning to offer permanent work-from-home options to employees.
While remote working can be a win-win situation for everyone, it does catapult some challenges as well. One of the biggest challenges is effective team communication. Communication is the key is a fact all of us are well versed in. But, according to Workforce, 60%of organizations lack prolonged strategies for internal communication. To add, As per GoVitru, not more than 6% of companies communicate employee goals every day. These vulnerabilities of effective communication are even larger in virtual teams.
Hence, it is vital for every employee to learn the golden rules of communication in virtual teams.
In this blog, we will cover the most productive strategies for virtual team communication. More businesses are now investing in remote communication tools. Technology is providing abundant possibilities to businesses on every front. The key is to make the most of these opportunities.
When employees are unclear about goals, deadlines, and expectations, it takes a toll on their productivity. Hence, as the team leader or the manager, it is essential that you communicate everything with precision. You should establish deadlines for each goal and convey to employees what is expected of them.
You can use multiple modes of internal communication to extend important information to your team members. For instance, in addition to team meetings on virtual platforms, you should mail the task list and deadlines to each team member individually. It may happen that a team member misses out on a piece of vital information during remote meetings. By sending tasks and the checklist of anticipations via mails, you plug communication gaps.
Planning projects in a thorough manner and sharing details with the team is the key. You should document everything and rely more on written communication than verbal communication. In this way, you can avert the chances of miscommunications. Clear and transparent communication is the prime prerequisite for high employee engagement.
As the team leader or a project manager, you should work on communication guidelines. After working on framing guidelines, you should share them with your team. This will help you establish a structured framework of communication.
The major focus of the guidelines will be on the channels of communication. For instance, you can decide to use Google Hangouts for team discussions and information sharing. However, you choose to decide that policy decisions and suggestions should be shared via emails or Zoom calls.
Clear instructions regarding the guidelines set by you should be communicated beforehand. It is important that your team members know about the best channels for different forms of business communications. This will be possible when you create norms and share them with your team.
Also, there should be a contingency plan for communications. What if Slack or Google Hangouts is not working on a given day? Communication guidelines should also define alternative channels under unprecedented situations. When everyone has a uniform set of guidelines to follow, collaboration and coherence will improve You will be able to refine team communications and upscale the results from it.
As a business leader, you need to identify the best communication technologies to invest in. Using the right tool or software for internal communications is paramount to team efficiency.
You can reap significant benefits by investing in collaborative software, shared software, and so on. Technology and artificial intelligence have come a great way. There are state-of-the-art communication tools to suit all sorts of requirements that teams have.
Collaboration can be as effective as in physical offices if you invest in the right technology. There are some fantastic solutions for improving team communications. You have to identify the most compatible ones for your business and teams.
Investing in the right software can help you coordinate the email campaigns of your team. Furthermore, it can enable your team members to access shared presentations and documents. But whatever collaboration processes you choose for your hybrid office, the team needs to know about them. If your team does not know how to make the most of software, communication problems will continue to persist. You need to convey to them the ins and outs of the software and tools selected.
In the traditional office, you make use of presentations, infographics, and flow charts to explain things. This is because it is a proven fact that diagrams and visuals facilitate effective communication. They allow attention to every minute detail, organize data in a presentable way and represent the stepwise process of everything. They have always played an active role in adding more value to communications. You should look to replicate the same mantra of success in the virtual workplace as well.
So, important communications can be optimized with visuals and diagrams. They will engage your team members better and will establish clarity in information sharing. Of course, that will increase your workload a little, but it will enhance the effectiveness of communication.
You can easily share visuals and diagrams with your team using collaborative software. The use of infographics and flow charts will make data sharing easier and worthwhile. Remember, the purpose of these diagrams is to simplify communication. If diagrams and flow charts are too complex, it can have a backlash effect. Keeping it simple and expressive can be pivotal.
You should not have a constant mistrust in your team members when it comes to remote communication. You have to show trust in your team members and avoid micromanaging. For instance, uncalled and repetitive follow-up calls from your end can affect their motivation. You should trust their efficiency to grasp information and to reach out to you in case they need help. But micromanaging them and trying to supervise every little thing they do can be toxic.
Micromanaging declines the productivity and creativity of employees. Furthermore, it can have a drastic effect on their self-confidence. Extreme cases of micromanaging can also lead to high levels of stress in employees. You do not want your team members to feel any undue pressure, do you? You should rather share regular feedback with them and not micromanage. They are already coping with the pandemic anxiety. You should help them manage stress and not amplify it.
Once you have explained goals and guidelines, let them do their work on their own. Tell them that you are available to cater to any doubts that they may have. Offer additional support and cooperation to them. The problem with remote working is that the efforts of team members are not tangible. But it does not mean they are not working if you cannot see them working. Give them their share of flexibility, space, and of course, encouragement to be self-sufficient.
To close, every business now needs a refined remote communication framework. Besides, every manager and business leader needs to train remote teams for effective virtual communication. This training will, of course, be based on predefined guidelines, identification of communication channels, and the choice of collaborative software.
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