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The importance of communication when working remotely: Five helpful tips
Effective communication is an essential tool in maintaining strong, lasting working relationships at all levels of an organisation. This is particularly true when operating remotely and navigating uncertain times. Employers that invest in delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build trust amongst employees, leading to increases in productivity, output, and morale in general.
The global pandemic has brought communication into sharper focus in recent months, as a majority of teams are now operating entirely remotely. Poor communication, whether this is due to personal reasons or a lack of sufficient technology, will inevitably lead to unmotivated, ill-informed staff that may begin to question confidence in their abilities and eventually the organisation as a whole.
Utilise the right technology to communicate effectively
There are many tools that businesses can use to promote effective communication when engaging with people virtually. Consider mixing it up when connecting with your team.
Video conversations - Video communication allows face-to-face conversations with teams across the business. At a time when many businesses are operating entirely remotely and employees are spread out across different locations and time zones, this is key to maintain a more human connection. Video conversations encourage effective collaboration and allow your staff to get to know each other better. While meeting in person is not a viable option, utilising this technology is a great way to have more personal discussions about how your people are feeling.
Email - Communicating through email is a great way to track communications and keep relevant people in the loop. Even though many businesses operate through email, it is important to teach your teams the value of this tool. Email applications often act as the tool that ties businesses together, with comprehensive meeting calendars, address books, and organisational functions at the fingertips of your team members. However, ensure you are not over-relying on email as a comms tool. Often, key business messages can be better explained verbally.
Direct messaging - Email can be a great way to discuss wider projects. But, to make it easier for your employees to have fast conversations throughout the day, give them access to direct messaging tools such as Sametime or Skype. These tools give them the ability to have real-time conversations, without waiting for email replies and can be used for quick updates or informal catch-ups.
Phone calls - This may seem obvious, but with the tools above being so readily available in the workforce today, people can often forget that they can have a phone conversation with each other, and prefer to send an email or video call instead. Encourage your teams to pick up the phone and speak to one another when they can; an email confirmation can always come afterwards if it is needed.
Five ways to promote open and effective lines of communication
Beyond the technology available, there are five key areas where organisations can improve and enhance communication:
Define goals and expectations - Managers should be delivering clear, achievable goals to individuals and their entire team. It is important to outline exactly what is required on any given project. This ensures that all staff are aware of the objectives of the project, the department, and the entire company.
Deliver your message clearly - Delivering a clear message to your team will ensure that they completely understand what you want them to do, and your objectives for setting these tasks. Get your message across clearly without causing confusion or offence.
Choose the appropriate medium - It is important to figure out what you are going to say, and why, and that you choose the right medium. Take time to decide if an email, telephone call, or memo is the best way to get your message across.
Keep everyone involved - If you want effective communication to run throughout the entire organisation, you need to be accessible. Make sure that the lines of communication are kept open at all times. It will encourage open dialogue with you regularly. This is particularly important when managing with remote teams.
Listen to your team members - The ability to listen to your colleagues and take any suggestions or feedback that they give seriously is crucial. Real listening shows respect and allows you to learn about any outstanding issues you may need to address as an employer.
Effective communication in the workplace is an integral part of business growth and collaboration between professionals. If you would like to discuss how we can support your business at this time, get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.