The pandemic has promoted working remotely, and some of us have already been working from home for months or more than a year. With this we have discovered both the advantages and the difficulties of managing teams remotely.
On one hand, team members may feel a bit lost and isolated from the rest of the group. It is possible that they don’t receive the expected feedback from their supervisors and colleagues.
On the other hand, it may happen that the team leader doesn’t know how to communicate and motivate team members remotely, or how to perform a full follow-up of their activities.
One of the key aspects to guarantee the success of a remote team is communication.
It is not enough for you to trust the skills and discipline of each person to perform the assigned tasks on time and with the highest quality; If your team doesn’t communicate internally, the smart decision-making process and motivation can break down.
What do you do to promote fluid communication between the members of your team?
If a good information exchange process is essential for the optimal functioning of a face-to-face team, remote communication becomes even more important.
In this context, in order to gain agility, efficiency, motivation and commitment, it is key that each member “make themselves heard”.
Here are five reasons why promoting and strengthening communication is essential for your remote team members to work optimally, achieve their objectives, and feel motivated.
1. Increase the sense of responsibility and commitment
One of the main problems with working remotely is that, no matter how good your people are, if they don’t communicate, no one will know what others have accomplished, what they are progressing at, and what difficulties they are encountering. They will become more and more isolated, they will tend to work independently, and it is very likely that their productivity will decrease.
In a traditional face-to-face environment, this is not usually a problem for people, as there are other colleagues around them with whom they can share comments and can easily view their work or help themselves if necessary. It is even possible that your supervisor can propose group or individual meetings in his office, to comment or evaluate the progress of your work.
Therefore, maintaining fluid and up-to-date communication is of great help. Keeping all team members up-to-date on each other’s progress increases each other’s visibility, while allowing and promoting collaboration. It also increases the sense of responsibility since your work is visible to everyone.
There are tools that allow you to have channels of conversation or work tables such as Slack or Trello, where everyone can see what is being done, who is responsible and what tasks are on hold. In this way, the entire team is informed regardless of where its members are, at the same time that each task gains relevance, since it is now perceived as part of a whole and not as an isolated task. This increases the level of commitment of the team members.
2. Improve meeting deadlines to achieve better results
Having well defined deadlines is crucial for having a good planning of the activities, events, and work that has to be done. Communicating deadlines helps both the team to have a clear vision of the important duties to fulfil, and each team member so he/she can come up with an individual action plan.
By sharing information and letting everyone knows each other’s tasks and progress, better meeting deadlines is also achieved.
Having relevant tasks in view of everyone who may need access means they can work as a team to review agreed deadlines and develop concrete actions.
3. Improve problem solving
A great virtue of remote work consists in being able to share information to the whole team in real time.
Maintaining active communication where all team members are informed of the different movements of each one, allows everyone to know when a problem occurs. Thus, the complete team is aware of any drawback or difficulty that takes place in no time. Moreover, sharing information allows team members to know the background of the problem. Therefore, it is easier to intervene and provide possible solutions.
The interconnection allows the contribution of solutions and their implementation to be carried out with greater agility and success. Thanks to it, response times and stress levels generated by the feeling of being alone facing difficulties decrease.
4. Promote collaborative work
Encouraging communication also encourages collaborative work.
Obtaining more than one opinion on a proposal or on a specific topic, will not only provide a second source of inspiration to enrich it, but will allow each of the collaborators to learn from the others.
Collaborative work is also beneficial in managing technological change. With the need to develop digital skills, experts can help other colleagues with less experience in this field. There are some tools such as Google docs, Dropbox or Microsoft Office where different types of documents can be shared and collaborators may participate and interact in real time.
5. Helps collective learning
Promoting communication helps collective learning.
Communicating and sharing difficulties in any particular technical problem, any doubt from ongoing tasks… as well as communicating new learnings and new experiences with the rest of the group can be of great value to help each other as a team and advance in this new digital context.
How do you do to make sure there is a good communication atmosphere in your group?
Let us know your thoughts and your tips to improve communication in the comments below!