Improving Communications Guide to Working Remotely

WRITTEN April 30, 2020 Author: Mark Fogel

At Improving Communications, we know that in today’s climate, you are transitioning a significant portion of your workforce to a virtual environment. Working remotely has become reality for so many people, for your employees.

While we recognize that normal work patterns, modes of communication, and team dynamics will be disrupted, you can  encourage your leadership to explore remote working arrangements with their teams to ensure that operations can continue as normally as possible. 

We have put together some tips and strategies to help Managers and Employees continue to collaborate effectively and meet deadlines. They involve spelling out deliverables and roles repeatedly as circumstances require changes, making an extra effort to stay personally connected with people so teams don’t feel disconnected, and providing guidance, support and encouragement for working virtually.

It is all about Connection and Collaboration. We are hosting a 1hr webinar to go over what you can do as a manager and employee, when faced with this new frontier for so many of us.

Here are 8 tips to help:

1. Make communication a top priority.

You need to make sure pertinent information is easily — and frequently — communicated.

Don’t rely solely on email to stay in touch with remote members of your team. Set up frequent meetings with each employee to touch base and keep the connection strong.

2. Spell out deliverables and goals.

Teams that suddenly change work patterns — particularly moving from co-located to virtual — need to rethink how to accomplish their tasks and ensure that essential duties and goals are met.

Include all your remote workers in meetings, whether strategic or tactical to make sure that they’re aware of updates as well as the big picture. It will also help them prioritize work and manage their time. All members of your team should know what deliverables they and the team are working toward, and how these deliverables will be met.

3. Keep in daily contact, but don’t micromanage.

Let your staff know how and when they can reach you throughout the workday. Remember, team members who are off-site won’t be able to swing by your office to ask questions or get feedback.

4. Hold regular check-ins.

Schedule a daily or weekly check-in meeting to ensure all tasks and deliverables are on schedule and any issues are addressed.

Perhaps you want a weekly email update from each member of your team, or you may prefer that people update a master spreadsheet of projects. Figure out what works for you, and make sure everyone knows.

5. Use video conferencing if possible.

The ability to see each other while talking fosters a sense of teamwork and more closely imitates an office setting.

Utilize chat and collaboration tools, such as Google Hangouts and Zoom.

6. Be responsive and available.

Communication lag can be counter-productive for a remote employee’s efficiency.

Receiving a response to an inquiry in a timely fashion encourages employees to remain focused and on task. Make sure everyone knows how to reach you when an issue is time sensitive.

7. Recognize achievements.

Remember to write a “good job” email to staff whose work you’d otherwise acknowledge casually in the office. You can also call out their achievement in the group’s chat platform.

8. Provide Helpful Resources.

So many new telecommuters who are not used to working from home, it is a good gesture to offer advice on how to work from home effectively. Ideas can include information on how to set up home office spaces, how to establish working hours, and how to set boundaries with any family members who may be present in the home.

Here at Improving Communications we know you “got this”.

We are here to support all our clients and friends, so feel free to reach out as the need arises.

Other Resources for Working Remotely:

7 Things Nobody Tells You About Working Remotely

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