Remote work got its start before the pandemic, but only 6% of employees worked remotely most of the time. This changed dramatically in 2020 when a third of workers went home to work full-time. While some employees are now back in the office, a lot still work from home.
This means for many teams, quick chats in the lunchroom or catching up in the hallway are things of the past. They have been replaced with laptops, headphones, and the dozen or so apps that allow workers to connect to each other or their customers online. In this article, we'll look at what you can do to communicate effectively as a team, even when everyone isn't in the office.
When you are communicating with your team, and they are spread across the globe, there are no chance encounters. You and other team members have to work on new communication skills to effectively communicate while working remotely. Here are some tips that will help you.
People are the most important part of communication, but sometimes they need a little help, especially when working remotely. The tips above will help, but your team also needs a variety of tools and strategies in their arsenal. Here are some they can try.
Email is a tried and true method of remote communication. It is great for sending detailed information and documents, and it allows team members to respond at their own convenience. It also gives users time to put extra thought into their messages and keep a record of communications.
Instant messaging (IM) tools, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom Chat, allow for real-time conversations and instant feedback. These tools are ideal for quick questions and discussions.
Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Skype allow team members to see and hear each other, creating a more personal connection. Video conferencing can be used for team meetings, one-on-one conversations, and presentations.
Project management software, such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp, allow team members to collaborate on projects, share files, and track progress in real-time. These tools can help remote teams to stay organised and on track.
Virtual phone systems like 800.com allow remote teams to communicate with clients and customers by phone, even if they are working from different locations. And you don't have to have a team in the office to manage the hardware and software in your data center because it won't be there. It will be in the cloud where you can forward calls, set up call tracking, and even add new phone numbers all from your browser or mobile phone.
One benefit of working remotely is that all methods of communication will be digital. That means it can be recorded. With chat and messaging apps, absent employees can catch up quickly by reading through the threads they missed. Important video conferences can and should be recorded so that employees who are on vacation or have a doctor's appointment can catch up.
One of the challenges of remote work is the lack of opportunities for informal and casual conversations. The physical water cooler or coffee machine was a place where employees would gather for a quick chat, share a joke or catch up with their colleagues. There are a few ways you can do something similar for remote workers, including:
Remote work is here to stay, with many companies now offering hybrid work models where employees can work from home or the office. In this work environment, communication is more important than ever to maintain productivity, collaboration, and a sense of community. The companies and teams that adopt and implement effective communication strategies will be better prepared for the future of work and will have a competitive edge in the long run.
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