Having a remote staff can have many benefits including a more productive workforce and lower overheads; however, one of the drawbacks is that it can be harder to facilitate good communication between staff members. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to encourage communication between remote staff and bridge the gap between them.
Use Communication Platforms
Taking advantage of digital communication tools, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Chat, facilitates communication between remote staff and is a crucial part of working remotely.
Lauren Davies of bOnline comments: “Using an effective communication platform is crucial to the success of any business. Particularly nowadays where remote teams are the norm in many industries, being able to properly and effectively communicate with remote teams, sometimes on the other side of the world, can take your business to a whole new level. Solutions like UK phone systems, VoIP and even WhatsApp can be very useful to this effect, ultimately helping your business.”
Aside from emails, this tool helps employees chat with each other quickly and effectively without having to send an email. These platforms typically make communication much more efficient. They also allow a designated spot to keep track of conversations through structured chat rooms.
Depending on the type of service you use, there can be company-wide threads, threads divided by specific teams or projects and direct chats between co-workers. You can also have designated chats to allow personal news, movie recommendations or any other channel that can replicate the type of office chat that remote staff members might be missing.
You can also use these communication platforms to publicly commend a job well done by mentioning specific staff or teams in the public chat rooms. This reward style of working will help to boost morale among remote coworkers and will also help to make employees feel that their work is acknowledged and appreciated, even from afar.
Host Events and Socials
Even though your team is working apart on a day-to-day basis, it is a good idea to get your remote workforce together from time to time and facilitate real-life connections to be made. Hosting a team building event can bring staff together to work on different challenges and collaborate creatively.
Be it a team sports day, quiz or escape room, by hosting a physical event for your staff, they will recognise that communication is a company priority. These collaborative and team building days can help boost workplace relationships and, in turn, the overall success of the company.
Other ways you can help boost connection between remote staff is by sending them company merchandise upon joining the company. This simple act of sending a mug, badge or any other small item can help them feel like part of the team.
Host Virtual Meetings
One of the benefits of working remotely is the flexibility that it enables. However, it also comes with a great deal of trust that employees are getting on with their necessary work. A great way to keep employees engaged and help co-workers check in on different projects is by holding video meetings. The frequency of these will depend on the company’s needs but the idea is that employees are able to visually connect with who they are working with and communicate what they are working on.
Not only will this facilitate better communication and improve workflow, it also makes the work experience more personalised as they can put a face to the name. If you set the expectation of keeping webcams on during meetings, it can help to facilitate these face-to-face conversations.
Use Project Management Tools
Another digital tool to take advantage of in a remote working environment is a project management tool. Whichever one you choose, whether it’s Monday, Asana, Trello or any of the many others, these project management tools can help team members stay on top of deadlines and set clear deliverables for each team member. Project management tools make it easy to track not only what each individual is working on, but their progress on each task and the progression of the project as a whole. It makes collaboration and communication easy between team members who are working in different physical locations. Using these tools can also lead to greater time-efficiency and can help managers see how employee time is being used effectively.