Communicating Online With Your Remote Team
We live in challenging times and choosing how to communicate is an essential part of maintaining our sanity. 2020 is the prime exhibit of what benefits technology has brought to our disposal, and one of them is working with teams remotely.
With the boom of social media, the lines between casual and professional interactions have diminished. Customers like it when the relationships are more humane, so why not do it for your teams as well?
It all boils down to leveraging your thoughts the right way, especially when all your team members are now behind a screen and waiting for some digital feedback. This is an additional challenge when your teams are working across different time zones.
One of the major issues over digital screens are the open-to-interpretation signs in our body language. The tonality of our thoughts can be misunderstood, as sarcasm is more evident in-person than via text. A disarray of thoughts can cause anxiety, leading to reduced productivity and low morale in the team.
With the conventional 9 to 6 idea of jobs out the window, you could be drafting an email at 3 am and still not be content. Justifying the right time to press send on that email or replying to that SMS is difficult. The instant gratification of response is no longer there, and we are bound to question the new norms of social interaction.
How do we save ourselves the hassle of falling into this pit trap?
Follow these practices to make your life easier:
1. Clarifying boundaries and expectations
Sometimes we fail to recognise the priority of a task because of the number of daily activities we do. With remote working and no strict schedules, this has become a further cause for stress.
It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that priorities are set and no team members are overburdened.
Having an online sheet with deliverables marked under each person makes this easy. Online tools like Hubspot and task management apps such as Trello have a lot of pre-embedded features to make this easier.
2. Scheduled check-ins
Balancing management without being micro is a huge responsibility because some people need the extra push to work effectively, and remotely this is next to impossible. By “checking-in” this hassle is reduced. The focus should be to get the work done and not identify troublemakers. Check-ins could be done through one-word responses in social groups, and in case the person hasn’t done it, another can take over and/or help with the activity.
3. Reinforcing written communications
Some people have trouble voicing their opinions in a physical meeting for fear of being ridiculed and facing the heat. While voice and video are the conventional norms for virtual meetings, written agenda should not be overlooked.
Adding emojis to your written sentences lighten the tone, which is especially helpful for introverts who would rarely speak up.
4. Digital rewards and recognitions
Creating incentives always leads to a positive reverberation. A shout-out to your team members could be done over a town-hall or through weekly emails until last year, but now it needs a further touch-up as all eyes are glued to our screens.
Tag your teammates on Slack and WhatsApp groups when they do something nice for you, not just for the company. It could be something small such as helping you when they didn’t need to or being proactive about following up with customers.
Feature the best employees on LinkedIn. Consider LinkedIn the new Facebook and dedicate an emoji (or two) to that employee who went over-and-beyond when no one was around to monitor them physically.
Teams have great cohesion and produce results when they trust each other. Having that faith virtually is no easy feat to achieve.
A team is only as strong as its weakest internet connection holder. Give them the motivation to get that better connectivity, no pun intended.