Communicating with your team used to be simple, as you all worked in the same location. It was simply a case of arranging a meeting and all congregating in the conference room. However, nowadays it’s more common for your team to consist of remote team members, who live miles apart from each other.
So, how can you effectively communicate with a team that’s so… remote?
Here’s some tips to get you started.
#1: Focus on communication
Communication is key, when working with a remote team. This isn’t just about ensuring they know what they need to do – it’s also about maintaining regular, clear communication too. Communication is also a two-way street. Not only do you need to be focused on effectively communicating your needs, your team need to be able to do the same too.
#2: Make your remote team members feel part of a team
This tip is two-fold. Firstly, when working remotely, it’s easy for team members to have an ‘out of sight, out of mind mentality’ about their work. There’s no one looking over their shoulder to ensure work is getting done or they’re working to schedule etc.
Secondly, it can feel lonely working remotely. You may have a good work mindset, but motivation and enthusiasm can wane, if you’re always alone.
Both can be solved, by ensuring you pick team members who are self-starters and have a track record of being able to work alone and as part of a team. It’s also important that each of your remote team members know (and feel) they’re part of a team. By following the tips in this article, you can help alleviate those feelings, whilst also ensuring they know there is someone holding them accountable for their work.
#3: Set up a clear process for how you will communicate
Communication isn’t just about each of you communicating clearly, it’s also about setting clear guidelines on how you’ll communicate with each other too. What are your preferred methods of communicating with each other? Do you prefer email, phone calls or instant message? Guidelines need to also include turnaround times for responses, as well as communication hours.
#4: Stay in regular contact with your remote team
Stick to agreed dates and times for contact. Communication isn’t just about contacting your team when you have instructions or need answers. It’s about making them feel valued too. Part of this is setting up guidelines for that communication, as listed in the above tip. Face-to-face video conference calls are a great way of making someone feel part of a team. However, it’s also important to agree on set schedules too. Stick to regular days and times for your communication, as well as what happens if anyone has questions or queries outside of the normal contact hours and days.
#5: Make use of technology for team updates
Make full use of the technology available to you. Staying in contact with your team can include regular emails or using online forums, such as Slack or even group chats on Facebook. Having everyone working from one central agenda or to-do list is a good option too, with sites such as Dubsado, Asana and Wunderlist, all having great options to assign tasks, check of items and even contact each other, if needed. Finally, if you want to hold regular video conference calls, where each team member has a chance to ask questions and update on progress, check out the likes of Zoom or Skype.
Communicating with a remote team doesn’t have to be complicated, if you follow the above tips. By setting up the right foundation for you and your team, you’ll ensure motivation and commitment are high, as well as ensuring everyone feels of value – something that will help strengthen your remote team and guarantee each members best work.