As things continue to return to normal, there’s one change brought about by the pandemic that seems to be here to stay: remote work. Although many workers have since returned to their cubicles, there are almost just as many who have made their home office permanent.
A growing number of companies have come to the realization that certain positions don’t require physical attendance. According to data scientists at Ladders, remote opportunities have grown from 4% of all high-paying jobs before the pandemic to more than 15% by the end of 2021.
One of the most crucial elements to having a successful, cohesive remote team is communication. An overabundance or a lack thereof is enough to make or break a team.
If you are currently leading a remote team, or just a few select employees, here are four communication tips that will ensure a smooth and effective working relationship from afar.
1. Provide clear direction on responsibilities and expectations.
As leaders, it is our duty to ensure that each member of our team has a clear understanding of what is expected of them. When delegating or assigning tasks and projects, set specific deadlines and express the standards for the quality of work in detail.
If you leave no room for confusion over the minute aspects of an assignment, you will also limit the amount of mistakes that could be easily avoided.
Not to mention, when the members of your team have a firm grasp on what their goals should be, they will be able to hit their benchmarks quicker and with more accuracy. If each individual is operating in this manner, it will bring about even higher productivity for your team as a whole.
2. Establish a trust-based relationship.
Another way to ensure that your team is functioning harmoniously is to establish a foundation of trust. Naturally, the added degree of freedom that comes with working remotely can cause some initial worry. However, we have to learn to fully trust our employees to complete their tasks without our constant supervision.
Think back to why you originally hired each member of your team. Feel confident in the fact that you believed they had what it takes to get the job done and give them the space to do so.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t check in with your team regularly. In fact, consistent communication is key. Just be sure that in asking for an update or progress check, you have allowed your employees enough time to move forward with their projects.
It is crucial that your team is awarded a comfortable level of freedom in their work flow and daily routines. If they can see that they have your full trust and support, they will have what they need to truly thrive in their work.
3. Hold consistent meetings.
In order to keep your team connected and on the same page, it is important to hold team meetings regularly. Just because you aren’t all gathered in the same place physically, doesn’t mean you have to let the team become detached and unorganized.
Taking the time to come together over a platform like Zoom or Google Meet can give your employees the chance to become familiar with what other team members are working on, as well as grow personal connections. Set aside time either at the beginning or end of the meeting to share fun updates or quick stories. This can help to maintain and build a team culture despite the distance.
Whether it’s weekly, biweekly or monthly, meetings can be as frequent as necessary depending on the needs of your team.
4. Offer supportive feedback.
Leading a remote team requires you to put in extra effort to support them. Since you are not seeing your employees on a day-to-day basis as you are probably accustomed to, it is especially important that you are intentional in providing feedback and praise. Not only is clear feedback instrumental to keep projects progressing in the correct direction, but it also helps to keep your team motivated.
An employee who feels appreciated and encouraged will be more likely to rise above and beyond what is expected of them. If your team is full of employees who are content and confident in their abilities, it will only raise the bar even higher for what you can accomplish together.
Showing a team member how much you value their time and effort can be as simple as sending a thoughtful email or even rewarding them with a small token of thanks, such as a digital gift card.
As the team leader, it is our responsibility to be proactive in our communications with our team. It is just as important to ensure that our employees feel comfortable to reach out to us when they are in need of a little extra guidance or clarification.
Establishing a healthy flow of communication amongst your team is a surefire way to set up your company or organization for success.