Does your business have a remote team? If so, this article with help. Guest writer, Gloria Kopp, takes us through six steps to effectively communicate with remote employees.
Everybody knows that communication within a business is the key to success. Whether you’re hosting a meeting, going through sales reports, emailing or on the phone to clients or reporting the status of a project to your boss, communication is at the forefront of everything that you’ll do.
However, things get a lot more difficult if you hire employees that work around the world, also known as remote employees. Even with the presence of advanced communication technology, such as instant messaging services and video conferencing platforms, it’s vital that you master the art of communicating with these workers so that your business can succeed.
Regardless of whether you’re hiring full-time contractors or part-time freelancers, you want to make sure that you’re getting things right the first time. So you can maximise the opportunities for your business, here are six essential, need-to-know tips for communicating effectively with your remote workers.
Define the Goals of Your Remote Employees
When you’re working with a team of people in a physical department within a business, the first thing you’ll do at the beginning of any project is to set the terms and expectations out so that everybody is on the first page. There’s nothing different for your remote workers.
Of course, these terms, goals and targets will solely depend on the nature, culture and expectations of your business but the process should be the same no matter what business you are.
For example, if you’re running a marketing campaign where you’re managing a client’s social media channels, you need to make sure that you set defined goals of increasing their follower count by 100% of six months.
Whatever these goals and targets may be, getting everybody aiming for the same thing and working together can dramatically increase the chances your business has of succeeding.
Tip: Make sure all the goals and targets are as defined and as detailed as possible for them to be clear and understood, minimising the risk of miscommunication. When defining the sources for each of your goals, use tools like Cite It In or Grammarix to do so accurately.
Be Proactive in Managing
As a remote team manager, it’s important that you’re proactive in making sure that everything runs smoothly. The more proactive you can be, the more fluidly your team and employees will operate.
For example, if you’ve got a large project coming up that’s going to require a lot of work, make sure that you let all your team members know well in advance, so they can plan for it and be prepared when the time comes.
This definitely applies when it comes to remote employees taking some time off of work, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, so you can plan around and minimise any delays that may be caused.
As a manager, you should set the standard when it comes to communicating. Be sure to check your messages to make sure they are edited and proofread for accuracy, which you can do easily using services like Boomessays and Academadvisor.
There is a tonne of platforms and services out there that aim to make communication effective and easy. However, as a manager of a remote team, you’ll want to make sure that you’re bringing the team together properly by making sure that everybody is using the same platforms.
If you’re using a selection of instant messaging services and video conferencing platforms for different remote employees within your team, not only can the team members not communicate, things will also get very confusing very quickly.
Instead, ensure that all remote employees have the same programs downloaded and are capable and trained of using them all effectively. Tools like Trello and Asana are great all-rounded tools that can help you remote employees to connect effortlessly.
Encourage Feedback & Discussion
Sometimes, if a remote employee is really busy while talking to you about something, they’ll tend to agree just to get the conversation over and done with. This is typical if you’re communicating with someone from the other side of the world and while they’re shutting down for the night, you’re just starting your day.
However, it’s important you encourage and make it easy for your remote employees to ask questions, so they have a crystal-clear understanding of everything that’s going on. These minimise the room of error further along in a project.
Minimise the Risk of Interruptions
Working from home or from anywhere in the world can be a godsend, and it can be extremely productive, but there’s still a risk of interruptions that can cause problems to an employee’s workflow.
Of course, some of these interruptions are unavoidable, but you don’t want to be the cause of some of the worse. If you’re aware of your remote employee’s working pattern, which you should be, try to avoid messaging them during these times so they can focus on what they are doing.
If you need to contact an employee in case of an emergency, obviously you can do this, but try to reserve these communications for actual emergencies and not simply when you’re looking for a project update.
Communicate Using the Right Methods at the Right Time
If you’re particularly busy, it may be tempting to write out a tonne of information on what you want to say in an email. However, if a five-minute phone call seems more appropriate, then this is probably the channel of communication that you should be using.
Be smart with how you communicate with your remote employees. Emails, like the ones written but custom services like Ukwritings or Essayroo, should typically be reserved for single messages, such as setting up video meeting times or sharing files.
Instant messaging should be for organising social aspects of a remote team, discussing certain aspects of a project casually or having brief catch-ups with an employee.
If you have something substantial to say, or it’s a topic that’s open to discussion, you should use a phone call or organise a video chat.
As you can see, communicating effectively with a remote employee, or a team of remote employees, doesn’t have to be difficult, you simply need to think smart about the most effective way to talk to them.
The aim of the game is to make sure that everyone understands everything and is on the same page early and consistently throughout the project, minimising that dreaded risk of error.
About Gloria Kopp
Gloria Kopp is a recruiting manager and a career adviser at Australian Help. She regularly contributes articles to Scoopit, Semrush and Academized blogs. Besides, Gloria is an author of Studydemic educational project for students and educators.