Communication is essential to a team’s success. Good communication helps your team complete projects quicker, collaborate more efficiently, and build stronger relationships. As a manager of a remote or hybrid team, you don’t have much control over your employees’ workspaces, but you can control how you communicate with your team and how team members communicate with each other.
Effective communication not only helps your team be more productive but also helps:
- Improve collaboration: Collaboration is impossible without effective communication.
- Promote a healthy workplace culture: When team members are actively communicating with each other, they feel more valued and a part of something bigger.
- Streamline workflows: Communicating efficiently allows issues to be resolved quickly and ensures important details aren’t missed.
- Prevent miscommunications: When your team members are successfully communicating with each other, you help cut back on misunderstandings on a project, deadline, deliverable, etc.
Although virtual communication is not the same as in-person communication, it’s still possible to foster a similar feeling by following the below tips:
1. Emulate an in-office environment
When you’re in-office, it’s easy to pull your team members into your office if you need to have a quick chat or conversation. However, when communicating virtually, this isn’t the case. Since you don’t have a physical office, you have to communicate in other ways. When providing feedback, try hopping on a quick video call or phone call rather than writing it out in an email. It will feel less formal and it will help create that in-office feeling for your employees. For example, if you’re providing your writer feedback on a recent blog, take a few minutes out of your day to call them up and walk them through your notes, rather than leaving them to interpret everything on their own. By actively communicating with them, you’ll help cut back on any misunderstandings and allow them to ask any questions they have regarding your feedback.
2. Keep the team on the same page
Since team members are often working on a project that requires the help of other team members, it’s important to keep everyone in the loop. To do this, try having a daily stand-up to touch base with the team. You can see where everyone is at on their part of the project and also help provide clarity on any questions team members might have. You don’t want to wait until a deliverable is due to gather the team together to check their progress. This is a surefire way to ensure that important details are missed. Instead, make sure that your entire team understands what everyone else on the team is working on by using a tool like Communicator that allows you to easily chat, call, and video conference with your team members. Not only will this help prevent any miscommunication, but it will also help keep the rest of the team accountable and on schedule.
3. Set clear expectations
Remember, your team members are not mind readers. If you don’t tell them exactly what you need and what you’re looking for out of a project, they won’t know what’s expected of them. Anytime you kick off a project, be sure to let your team know what you are aiming to achieve with this project. If you’d like them to reference past projects or data, be sure to mention that. Don’t assume your team members will know what you’re after. Always over-communicate and explain exactly what you want. If your team is working on a graphic design and you have design inspiration in mind, be sure to share with them so there is no guesswork involved. The more information you can share with your team, the better aligned everyone will be.
4. Cut to the chase
Although it’s important to give detailed instructions and set clear expectations, try to do so in a concise manner. We’ve all been in those meetings where the person never gets to their point. It’s especially easy to ramble on in a virtual meeting when there are no nonverbal cues to let you know that you’re losing your audience. Be respectful of your team’s time and try to take any segues offline, so your meetings stay on track and your team reamains fully engaged.
5. Be personal
Human beings crave personal interactions. Often, it’s easy for team members to feel isolated or lonely when they are working remotely as they don’t get to have these in-person interactions. To add a sense of that in-office environment to your meetings, try spending the first few minutes connecting with your team and learning about what they are doing outside of work. Remember, you still need to be respectful of their time, but since you don’t get to connect in the office or at the water cooler, this is a great way to build personal relationships with each team member. To keep team morale up, consider having a virtual happy hour, a coffee chat, or even a game night. It’s been proven that close-knit teams are more successful at work, so continually look for ways to bring your team closer together.
If you want your team to succeed in the long term, you must prioritize virtual communication. Follow the steps above to get started, and for even more tips on managing your remote team, be sure to check out our article: 7 best tips & guidelines for managing remote workers.