Every manager wants to know what the secret to a strong and driven remote team is. While many aspects might be at play, one thing is for certain. No business or remote team can evolve without effective communication. Also, managing a remote team isn’t the same as managing an in-office one. Your team demands a specific approach because the setting is different. To establish good communication, you should keep a few tricks up your sleeve.
If you’re new to remote work, you can expect a steep learning curve. All the more so, if the members of your team aren’t that much interested in technology. What you can do to make the adaptation process less challenging for both sides is show understanding whenever you can. Some might figure out the remote work easily and quickly, while others might struggle for some time. Be there for each other and remind them they can count on you to help them settle in. Also, make time for addressing any concerns or resolving any doubts they might have along the way. Change is stressful for everyone, but if you understand and help each other, it becomes easier to embrace it.
Don’t Be a Control Freak
For managers, walking up to their employees and monitoring their work is always tempting. In the virtual office, some get into the habit of calling or sending messages to their team several times a day to get updates on their progress. The behavior is somewhat acceptable if the matter in question is urgent. Otherwise, it disrupts the workflow, puts unnecessary pressure on employees, and annoys them. Whether they work in an office or from home, your team consists of responsible and diligent adults. Instead of bombarding them with messages and calls, give them space to breathe and do their job. It sends them a message of mutual trust and respect which is crucial for working online.
Mentor Your Team
Daily check-ins and regular meetings are essential for remote teams. However, it’s often not enough. For great employee communication, you should also mentor your team. Build a strong mentoring system where your employees receive the support and knowledge they need to develop professionally and personally. For example, you can schedule weekly or monthly one-on-ones with your team members. Use this time to discuss projects they’re currently working on or their career goals. It’s important to ask how they’re doing and coping with remote work. Take your time and show genuine concern for their physical and mental health. Lastly, remind them they’re a valuable asset to the organization.
Introduce a ‘’Water Cooler’’ Chatroom
Do you remember when your team used to chat by the water cooler? It served as an effortless yet effective bonding activity. While working remotely, you may not have a physical water cooler anymore. What you do have is digital resources your team can use to bring that tradition into their virtual work environment. Therefore, give them a designated space within the communication platform, so they can interact and chat about non-related work stuff. Also, encourage them to participate in conversations using relevant hashtags. For example, #bingewatching followed by their recommendations for TV shows or #pets with cute pictures of their furry friends.
Mark Special Occasions
In the office, you and your team celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones. Unfortunately, organizing celebrations is quite a challenge for remote teams. Nonetheless, they can still have fun and enjoy the festivities with the help of technology such as video calls. Include everyone’s birthdays in the calendar as well as other relevant achievements. The least you can do is make a group video call and sing “Happy Birthday to You” and send a present or a cake to their home address. Celebrating highs isn’t the only thing you should focus on. Reach out to those who have taken a sick day or leave of absence and make sure they’re OK. You can also send them a fruit basket with a personalized get well soon card.
Strengthen Bonds Within the Team
Remote workers are prone to loneliness, depression, and frustrations. As a result, they feel disengaged, unproductive, or even consider quitting. The most effective way for combating such negative emotions is by strengthening bonds within the team. If you were working in the office, you would organize lunches, corporate events, or activities for the whole team to participate in. Even though you’re working in a virtual workplace, you can still take part in team-building activities. You just have to get more creative than usual. Organize a meme competition or enjoy virtual drinks on Fridays. Also, you can ask employees to share ideas of their own and spur their engagement as well.
Although your team is a remote one, you can still have good communication. All it takes is some empathy, independence, mentorship, and everyday interactions. Your team will be successful despite not physically sharing the same office.