Working within a team involves good communication. You probably spend more time with your coworkers than your own family.
Currently, this may not be the case if you are primarily working from home but you get the point.
The best way to maintain a good working relationship with team members is to communicate effectively.
How can you collaborate remotely?
For teams who aren’t familiar with handling tools that enable remote communication, collaborating remotely could be a little challenging.
One of the things that helps ease this challenge is to actually equip remote teams with the appropriate tools.
Any employer who doesn’t equip their remote team with the appropriate tools are asking for massive employee confusion.
At the very least employees should have access to a phone and internet service, especially if that what the job calls for.
Not providing the right set of tools to remote workers can cause them to feel lost and confused about their teleworking duties.
It could also cause low morale if employees feel the pressure of not performing to the expectations of the employers, yet, not having the tools to do so.
Expectations should be clearly set for remote workers so the entire team is on the same page. It is vital for team members to understand what is expected of them while working from home.
Work schedules should be clear across the board for team members too. Flexible schedules are preferred for a lot of remote teams. Though, in some industries flexible schedules aren’t feasible.
Using a team calendar, post team member schedules to the calendar. Be sure to include leave and vacation time for team members so the entire team is aware.
Communications should always include a due by date and/or urgency.
As changes happen, share the changes with the team. The point is that you shouldn’t leave any room for any misunderstandings amongst the team.
Leaving communication open-ended only provides opportunities for team members to assume and misinterpret information.
An effective way to get remote workers to collaborate is to conduct video calls. Emails are okay, but they lack a personal touch.
Video conferences allow remote workers to observe a person’s visual cues. It provides a better format for understanding the discussed information.
It’s easy to misread an email.
Conduct Daily Huddles
Okay so this may be a little professionally nerdy, but I actually love huddles. I don’t really love them in person, but while working virtually, daily huddles are awesome.
A daily huddle is when a team comes together for a short period of time to go over anything that may be urgent or important for the team to know.
I prefer huddles over long, drawn-out meetings. Daily huddles aren’t necessary if it’s not productive to the team. You could hold huddles two or three times a week, and handle the rest of your teams’ needs via email or other forms of communication.
Recently, we launched a statewide program which changed the way we managed our day-to-day tasks. For over a month, daily huddles were held to discuss challenges and offer direct assistance to employees. Then, daily huddles changed to a few times per week with different teams to address position specific matters.
Those huddles allowed people to voice their concerns and seek help; whereas a two or three hour-long meeting wouldn’t have had the same impact.
Make Your Intentions Clear
Avoid being misunderstood by making your intentions clear while communicating remotely. A professional pet peeve is when people send unclear emails.
I do not have time to be decoding emails at work. Yet, so many people send emails that aren’t clear. Most of the communication is spent trying to figure out what the original email meant.
Let’s avoid the unnecessary back and forth, and be as concise and intentional as possible.
In order to communicate effectively with virtual coworkers, always state the intended goal, and include details.
Be A Proactive Team Member
Don’t wait for team members to reach out regarding work assignments. Take the initiative and reach out to your team members. Keep the lines of communication open.
The first thing I do when joining a video teleconference is to greet everyone with a positive, Good morning! I am indeed that person that enters the chat ready for the presentation.
However, my greeting always starts a chain reaction of everyone greeting each other and making small talk until the meeting starts. It happens every single time.
For assignments I need assistance with, I contact the team members with skill sets matching what I need completed. More often than not, they need help with something too but hesitated to contact me because they didn’t want to seem like a bother.
The lack of seeing your office mates on a daily basis can cause colleagues to take “normal” communication for granted. Working from home makes it easy to forget that you actually work with other people.
You should check in with your coworkers at least once a week. At least once a week, I’m on the phone with someone from my job checking to ensure they’re okay.
Working remotely means you’ll have to get creative when it comes to communicating with your coworkers. However, it isn’t impossible.
Keep to the basics and remember that the point of this is to remain on the same page as your team.
How do you maintain good communication with coworkers while working from home?