As we move through the COVID pandemic remote work is here to stay. Employers and managers must have the right technology, the skills to use it effectively, and the emotional and social intelligence to translate the potential of the remote workplace into the realization of successful, motivated, and engaged teams.
Because remote work requires many elements to work together seamlessly, communication software must be intuitive and flexible so workers and managers can adapt to it quickly and incorporate it effectively into their existing workflow.
The following tips are meant to aid team members and team leaders in using software to leverage their communication skills and achieve collective goals.
Use the Senses
Workers remember information using what they see, hear, and do. Visual guides such as font color, borders, shading, and so on can draw attention to important information. For example, a color-coded cover sheet for projects that assigns different colors to different types of work, deadlines, client information, and notes would be easier to make sense of than a black-and-white cover sheet.
Sounds can be effective means of communication, especially when an employee is already engaged in a visual task. Different bells can inform employees of announcements, feedback, and meeting start reminders without requiring them to take their eyes off their work.
Get the Most Out of Video Chat Apps
Video meetings are an integral part of remote team-based work. Not only do they engage employees with social communication cues, but they allow employees to have two-way communication through the video conference itself as well as messaging and screen sharing, enabling multiple channels of communication.
Introduce your employees to the functionality of video meetings, including mute, hand-raising, and chat functions. Be sure that employees are aware of best practices, such as acceptable work attire, etiquette for muting and hand-raising, and other standards for your workplace. Include exercises within the meetings to break the ice and ensure that new employees can use all the necessary functions of the video chat software and provide feedback.
Support Rapid and Simple Two-Way Communication
One pitfall of remote workplaces is a lack of engagement. If a speaker or team leader is reduced to a small box on a screen, it is easier for employees to tune them out. The risk of disengagement is higher if employees are typically passive receivers of information and instructors rather than collaborators in the work process.
Software and leadership strategies that incentivize interactive communication can create a workplace culture where employee input is a welcome and integral part of the process. Interactions that require employees to communicate and reward the development of collaborative skills are effective, such as:
- Brainstorming sessions
- Focus groups
- Invitations to collaborate on projects using collaborative software
Two-way communication empowers employees to reach out to management if they are unsure about task requirements or the process they must follow.
Provide a Scaffolding for Essential Knowledge
During onboarding and every subsequent stage of employee professional development, employees need to be able to learn skills and retain information efficiently. Scaffolding, which is content that supports the learning process, lessens the risk that employees become overwhelmed, confused, or uncertain.
For example, a webinar teaching a retail sales technique could highlight important concepts before immersing the trainee in a sales role-playing scenario. Refreshing an employee’s memory of what they have already learned helps them understand how new ideas relate to what they already know.
Identify and Target Common Sources of Miscommunication
Miscommunication is a costly and pervasive risk in every workplace. This is especially true in remote work, where employee communications may be mediated by new and unfamiliar technology. If managers and team leaders can identify the most common errors that employees make, they could create additional content and opportunities for feedback during the learning process.
For example, if different projects are organized into different streams or channels of communication, employees might inadvertently post comments or content to the wrong channel. To prevent this, the instructions could highlight the channel selection process and emphasize the importance of selecting the right channel before posting.
The Role of Software in Facilitating Communication
Organizational management software is a powerful tool for streamlining learning, increasing task performance, and reducing mental workload for your employees. Consider how the following elements of software simplify tasks and reduce errors and frustration.
- Clear layouts for lists that allow the employee to easily and accurately search for information.
- Engaging displays that use color and other visual cues to organize information.
- Simple, unobtrusive, and clear messaging makes communication less frustrating and more accurate.
Use Digital Checklists to Summarize Essential Task Requirements
A clear, well-organized checklist accomplishes many of the goals we discussed earlier, communication, scaffolding, and optimization. Digital lists have the advantage of being accessible virtually anywhere on computers or mobile devices. They are helpful for less skilled employees to follow step by step instructions to complete tasks allowing your more experienced employees to focus their time on more complex problems.. They can be interactive, requiring the employee to confirm completion. Lastly, they can enumerate common mistakes and misunderstandings that new employees face.
Use Chekhub to Keep Your Business Organized
Chekhub is an organization management tool that optimizes workflow by making it easier for managers, team leaders, and employees to create clear checklists, facilitate team members, schedule events smoothly, and visualize the assets, teams, and projects within your organization. An intuitive user interface helps new users learn the ropes and automates busy work so that experienced users achieve more with fewer resources.
To learn more about Chekhub visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t let frustration and miscommunication get in the way of the success of your remote teams. Start your free trial with Chekhub today.