When shelter-in-place orders went into effect across the U.S., many companies were not prepared to make the move to remote work. Many of us at home face distractions we wouldn’t normally deal with in an office setting such as pets, kids, roommates/partners, etc. Things are hectic and if you’re struggling to build the foundation for managing a remote team, look no further.
Here are 5 communication secrets to having an effective remote team:
The team has to stay organized so nothing falls through the cracks
Some ways to keep track of everything is by taking notes, sending action items, and having a common resource where everyone on the team is connected. For example, Asana allows you to create separate projects and assign tasks to each other within each one. By knowing what everybody is doing and seeing tasks being completed, you can make sure everything is accounted for. It’s also a great way to determine if some members are overburdened with work. If the idea of downloading another app is too much, consider maintaining a checklist or spreadsheet where everyone can continue to update. If this isn’t happening already, schedule at least one weekly team meeting to touch base and provide updates.
Communication doesn’t have to be limited to emailing—and it shouldn’t
You’ll find yourself with an overflowing inbox that keeps getting bigger, burying the important ones underneath. A great way to quickly and effectively get in touch with your colleague is by using tools like Slack or Google Hangouts. That way, your inbox doesn’t get flooded with small tasks/questions and pressing matters can be attended to within minutes. Plus you can use reactions and emojis to creatively express yourself when words can’t. However, refrain from using other methods of communication like WhatsApp or Facebook messenger since these platforms were not built for professional use and can be distracting if connected to a personal account. By having a designated communication channel, everything will run more smoothly and your inbox will be easier to manage.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork
Everyone on the team should feel good about the impact of their work and feel motivated every day to perform well. Celebrate your successes and learn from your losses. Set up a time for asking questions, voicing any concerns, or receiving feedback. Invite your team to a virtual happy hour or a similar event to engage and bond together. You can also lift your team’s morale by saying things like “We got this!” or “I appreciate all your hard work!” Simple, but meaningful messages and actions will contribute to better communication within your team.
Related Content: Maintaining Great Company Culture While Working From Home
Check in on your team!
We’ve detailed how to communicate with your team to stay organized, productive and uplifted, but it’s also important to open the conversation to matters outside of work as well. They might be parents struggling to keep their kids entertained, or may even have a family member sick with COVID-19. Be mindful of that and understand things will come up in the future that are out of our control, but you can be prepared to react and provide support. Make sure HR has the appropriate resources to handle these situations or do your own research to find the best approach and solution.
Lastly, make sure to check in with yourself!
We often ignore signs of deteriorating mental health when we’re bogged down in the day-to-day. Are you burnt out? Do you need a breather? If you’re falling behind on work, recognize when that is happening and find the support you need to prevent it from getting worse. You can’t fill other people’s cups when yours is empty and you shouldn’t feel alone because many people across the world have felt heightened stress and anxiety since the pandemic started. You can’t expect your team members to be openly communicative if you stay reserved while secretly declining.
At UPRAISE, we have weekly team meetings and multiple internal meetings to review client work. In between meetings, we use Slack and Asana to stay in touch. We’ve been making an effort to check in on one another and make sure that all team members have the resources and support they need to get through this time. While we’ve found ways to cope with working remotely, we can’t wait to get back into the office again! (Once it’s safe, of course).