It’s a common belief that a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task. Lack of communication between team members can seriously affect the outcome of a project and can even make it fail. There are often unforeseen “personality conflicts” in the workplace that can affect team communication among teams. It’s important to think about the issues that can arise with a workforce that works remotely. Physically disconnected from their team members, companies must communicate more effectively to ensure productivity and to make teams function well.
Here are some examples of how you can communicate more effectively
- Set expectations early and review them often. Cover the main areas such as availability, how the team will communicate, when meetings will take place and respond to emails in a timely manner. Remember to take into account different time zones and cultural impacts.
- Set rules for video conferences (dos and don’ts) that are communicated and reviewed with all team members. Be professional when hosting a business video conference. A work video conference is not the same as a face-time with your buddy on the beach. Take the time to know the platform you are using and give team members time to learn it. Consider a training video prior to organizing a huge call. Employers should also consider a professional moderator on issues and topics that may be contentious or apt to generate major differences in opinion.
- Check your backgrounds on video conferences. Most people aren’t working from a formal home office. They are working from a kitchen table, living room couch, outdoor backyard deck or even a bedroom. Consider what is behind you. Keep your background clean and private things out of view. Many platforms have virtual backgrounds you can install so that only your image is visible. Consider who else is in the home office with you and remind them when you are on a call.
- Keep participants engaged during a video conference. Address them by name and engage them in open ended questions when possible.
- Sharpen your communication skills. On-line, video, or chat levels of communication are much different than in-person methods. The only thing between you and your team is a computer or device screen. You often can’t read body language to get your point across. Choose what you say and how, and ensure your point is getting across. Communicate quickly and concisely the first time around. Don’t type work related IM and text messages like you are talking. Type in full sentences, use appropriate language, don’t use acronyms that people won’t know and leave out unnecessary punctuation and comment. Allow time for questions/comments and set expectations s to when group members can ask those questions and make comments (during or end)
- Use the right tools for the right way to communicate. Sharing documents, sending documents, sharing screens, live documents, on-line collaborative software, and shared task organizing are all available tools to you now.
Setup a shared meeting place for less work-related things. Employees in a physical workplace have many chances to get to know each other and build a rapport on a personal level whether it be near the water cooler, coffee station, lunchroom, or foosball table. Remote workers don’t have that luxury and need to depend on other ways to get to know their coworkers, otherwise they will feel left out. Look for tools that will help the communicate and share information like a blog area, music or photo sharing, or on-line cultural events they can share. Setup times for informal “check-in” meetings as well as the formal settings.
RSMac Consulting provides your business with an array of services to help improve your performance. Whether it’s event security management, human resources, or labour relations services; our consulting can be exactly what you need to get on the path to success. For more information, please visit http://rsmac.ca.