In the last couple of years, the working world has seen enormous change. The global pandemic created a new normal where working from home became widespread. With many workers preferring to remain remote, or adopting a hybrid working model, good communication skills have never been more important. Teams rarely find themselves in the office together, and without that easy banter over coffee, or opportunity for a quick catch up before lunch, it can feel much more difficult to keep everyone on side. At CareerWise, we are experts in the world of work. Here is our guide to better communication when your team is working remotely.
The world of work had to adapt suddenly when the first lockdowns happened. But gradually remote working has become the norm. However, some feel that they have never really regained that sense of camaraderie and efficiency that makes a team really effective. Here are seven top tips for getting together, and keeping it together properly, when you are apart.
If you know communication is going to be more difficult with everyone in separate places, stop the problem before it starts. Be aware that someone could end up feeling isolated or left out of discussions very easily, so don’t take your interactions for granted. Make sure you are quick to communicate and do so regularly.
As a team leader, it is your job to keep everyone on side. Even if there are no pressing group issues, it makes sense to schedule a brief daily meeting for everyone to check in together. This works particularly well at the beginning of the day, giving everyone a chance to air and resolve any issues, and sync working schedules to ensure goals are being met. Don’t dispense with the small talk either. In fact, make a point of keeping up with your teams personal lives, as much as you would if you were all in the office. This team bonding at the beginning of the day can really boost morale and make everyone feel connected – meaning a far more efficient and productive day of work too.
The change from office to home working can leave employees feeling adrift. So make your expectations and boundaries clear from the start. It can be really useful to let your employees know if they can be flexible in their working hours, for instance, around school pick up times. Similarly, since you no longer have the physical distinction between home and office, make it clear what you expect in terms of responses – when you need people to be available, and when you expect them to turn off their emails and have personal time. It is really important to establish these boundaries from the start to avoid burn-out and ease frustrations.
You should ask your team what their communication preferences are. Each person will likely have a way in which they prefer to communicate. Some people will really struggle with emails, feel overwhelmed by volumes of text, and need regular video calls to get things clear. Others will prefer to be left to get on with the job, managing their communications through emails and texts. Be open to their choices in order to get the best out of each person.
When you aren’t all in the office together, it can be a little unnerving not to see everyone getting on with their tasks. But avoid the temptation to micromanage. If you pester your team throughout the day, not only will it delay the work they are doing while they respond, but it will show that you do not trust them to achieve their goals. This can really affect morale and productivity.
Without in-person communication, you might feel limited in how you communicate to your team. But there are many innovative ways to keep everyone engaged without simply bombarding them with emails. A tool such as Slack can be really useful – a communication hub allowing employees to chat directly, share information and even screens, making collaboration on a project much smoother. Project management tools such as Asana or Trello can also come in really handy. Even a team Whatsapp group with a more casual tone can help replace the in-office banter!
There are many ways you can get your team together remotely. From a Zoom lunch to an online cookery class, you don’t have to miss out on the office culture. To keep communication with your team strong, make sure you provide ample opportunities to talk outside the work task at hand. From an ongoing messaging group, to an end of year party in which you mail gifts in the post and hold a video unwrapping session, these bonding exercises will keep your team talking.
Are you an employer in Ireland? If you are looking to recruit in Ireland, get in touch with CareerWise today. Our team of friendly recruitment experts pride themselves with connecting the best talent with the best opportunities, every time.
Ken Murphy graduated from University College Cork in 1987 with an Electrical Engineering degree before moving to the US as a Network Design Engineer with BellSouth Corporation. His return to Ireland in 1989 heralded a career which concentrated on the multinational sector, and involved working with companies such as Apple Computer, Cabletron, FMC Automotive, Moog, General Semiconductor and Technicolor.
Ken is a specialist in quality management, purchasing, logistics and supply chain management. He has significant expertise and experience in managing the changing demands of the global media, electronics and automotive sectors at operational and project management levels.
Ken leads CareerWise Recruitment’s Cork operations. He has served on local and national committees of IPICS (The Supply Chain Management Institute), CIPD, the Cork Electronics Industry Association (CEIA), and has completed a three-year term as Chair of the UCC Alumni Board.
Ken has recently been elected as a Director of the Cork Chamber for a four year term to help promote business and drive policy objectives for the Cork Region
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