In a matter of days, the pandemic did what the most progressive companies planned to spend years and millions of investments on. It transferred many employees to remote work and forced them to quickly introduce flexible management models.
It caused a lot of inconveniences: dozens of new workgroups, chaos in messengers, and endless online meetings. Executives who previously managed the team within the office are experiencing difficulties with the home-based organisation.
The main question is how to work remotely without sacrificing the quality of work, productivity, and team spirit? How to overcome the challenges and survive this difficult time with maximum benefit and minimal loss to the team while ensuring a smooth and efficient working process?
The main task is to provide high-quality communication. Correctly organised interaction will allow you to fully realise the potential and strengths of each player. A team without proper communication is like an engine disassembled into separate parts.
Each of the parts is in excellent working condition, but until they are assembled into a single mechanism, there will be no result. How to achieve it? Some universal rules will work well for any business.
Create a positive working environment
Every manager should organise a clear and continuous process of information exchange in his team. Expressing one’s feelings or exchanging ideas should never be taboo. On the contrary, it is necessary to support such initiatives.
People are not robots and the manager should always keep his office open. This open-door policy makes employees free to talk to you when they need.
Instead of arranging monthly or weekly meetings to communicate with your subordinates, plan regular individual meetings so that you can be aware of what stage of development your employees are, what needs they have. Even in remote format, it is possible to organise a common working space for your team online.
A team is not just an occasional group of people. It is a group of employees, where each has its own KPI. A team is an organism united by a common goal. Moreover, the procedure for achieving the goal should be developed jointly by all team members.
If the plan is to implement a certain project, team members work out a common strategy of behaviour, distribute roles and resources. Then, each player works on a separate task as part of a previously defined strategy. If he begins to work on personal goals that are not related to the general one, the meaning of team play is lost.
Clear roles and responsibilities
Indistinct instructions and misunderstandings create many problems within the team. If an employee does not have clear guidance on what is required of him, it is a high probability of failing the task.
Having clarified the roles and responsibilities, you will immediately successfully pass the first obstacle on the way to communication efficiency. Use a responsibility assignment matrix (RACI) to distribute tasks among the most competent employees. It will help clarify the whole concept to the team and every participant will know his algorithm.
Set the basic rules for the team
There must be norms that the team will adhere to. This approach will contribute to efficiency and success. These rules can be very simple.
For example, ask all team members to come to meetings on time or introduce general recommendations for each team member to feel free offering ideas or solutions. But it is vital that everyone shares and supports this rule, and the team has a commitment to these rules.
Make two-way communication
You should always aim at dialogue, and not exclusively outgoing information. Always ask your employees to share their thoughts, offer feedback, and participate in discussions.
For example, at a meeting, ask your employees what they would like to change or add in their work. The bottom line is to transform communication into interaction and not one-way task delegation.
Use the best communication channels
There are a large number of communication tools that simplify and speed up the process of transmitting the information. For example, a chat to express public recognition and praise for a job well done or a chat in which top management can broadcast big news in a less formal way.
All information quickly reaches the attention of the entire company. This approach centralises communication, maintains a positive atmosphere, allows everyone to be always in touch, and sometimes even have fun.
You may use Slack, Workplace by Facebook, and other free communication tools.
Use online tools
Did you know that an average employee spends more than at least an hour of his day in a mailbox? Moreover, almost 20% of the day is spent searching for the necessary information or someone who can help in solving a particular problem.
Today, project management via e-mail has been recognised as insufficiently effective for a number of reasons. Not to waste this time, use cloud-based collaboration software. There are plenty of special online services for managing projects and conducting daily internal communication. You may try Basecamp, Trello, Zoom, and many more programs.
These tools allow you to keep entire projects in one location, providing easy access information to each team player. This approach eliminates unnecessary correspondence and reduces the number of meetings.
Managers can quickly monitor the status of a project using progress reports, monitor any problems that arise, and check the efficiency of team interaction. All team members have access to the status report, the possibility to download the relevant information, directly contact colleagues, and much more.
As a result, you will improve communication, save time, and boost productivity. But do not forget about security. If it is necessary to provide access to the internal corporate network, it is vital to fulfill the following requirements to protect remote access:
Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
Download antivirus software. Remember that during remote operation, traffic is transmitted through public networks.
Always use the best VPN you can, to connect workers to the corporate network. There are many free versions, you just need to compare their features like NordVPN vs IPVanish and install the one that meets your demands.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA), which provides access to cloud resources and other systems only for authorised users.
Strengthen team spirit
If a team copes well with a difficult task by joint efforts, its members will automatically begin to communicate better. We all can recollect the first place of work when we were standing awkwardly in a new office not knowing what to say.
Strengthening the team spirit gives everyone the opportunity to get to know the others better. It also helps create an atmosphere where everyone feels that he is personally investing in the result of the company. This, in turn, leads to better communication.
All communication formats will be beneficial for your team. Moreover, you can easily improve workplace interaction by introducing some simple rules, including:
- Open-door policy
- setting goals
- distribution of roles
- constructive feedback
- team-building rules
- active use of task management tools.
An effective system of internal communications allows a team not only to quickly exchange information but also creates an atmosphere of trust. It involves employees in corporate affairs, makes it possible to identify company values and unites employees.
About the Author
Eliza Medley is an experienced writer and psychologist.
She is actively interested in management, new technologies and writing motivational articles. And also trying to go with time with modern trends. Inspires people with his work to learn new things and reach new heights.