The coronavirus pandemic has led companies to embrace the new normal in business — remote work. While some employers are hesitant in adopting this new trend, remote work is more effective and has higher employee productivity than in an office work setting.
Luckily for many employers, the advancement in communication technology and team collaboration software, along with device capabilities and increased internet speeds, has enabled a more flexible working environment. This allows millions of remote workers to communicate well and collaborate with others to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Why are Communication and Collaboration Important in a Team
Without effective collaboration and communication at work, both productivity and engagement suffer. This makes real-time, virtual communication and collaboration between remote workers and management extremely important factors from a performance management standpoint.
- Boost Employee Engagement and Trust
Maintaining the lines of communication open allows your employees and the management to easily connect and collaborate. Establishing a strong connection within your organization helps build trust and engagement.
Frequent employee check-ins, virtual collaborations and monthly performance meetings have become less awkward and pressure-filled than yearly employee performance evaluations. Scheduling regular conversations with employees allows them to see their supervisors or managers as mentors rather than intimidating authority figures.
- Regular Feedback and Recognition
Giving regular feedback to your employees is by far the most effective, affordable, and underused tool your organization can use when managing a team of remote workers. Quality feedback is powerful enough to keep your employees on the right track and highly motivated to achieve their goals. Without it, employees are less likely to perform to standards.
Another essential factor to consider is the timeliness of giving employee feedback. Simply put, the sooner the employee finds out about his weak points in particular areas, the better. When bad habits start to build, the harder it is to break them. On the other hand, positive employee recognition helps your workers feel motivated.
- More Realistic Goals
You would be surprised how regular meetings with your remote employees can help you track short and long-term goals. Virtual discussions allow employees to show their progress and discuss obstacles that might have affected their progress. Lastly, it enables department heads and employees to address pressing issues quickly with more realistic goals.
- Generation of Unique Ideas
Remote working can be isolating, but it allows them to work away from distractions. This helps remote workers be more focused, allowing them to think and operate outside of the box. Communication and collaboration also make for more effective brainstorming and problem-solving sessions.
Challenges of Remote Working Environments
While it helps maintain productivity, remote working also brings some challenges, including:
- Implementation of Structured Remote Work Environment
Companies can see salvation in the new setup, but without a structured plan, it can result in a loss of efficiency. Sometimes, having the necessary infrastructure and tools may not be enough. Good leadership, clear guidelines, and commitment are necessary for the successful migration from office to remote work.
- Securing the Remote Working Infrastructure
With the cybercrime rate increasing drastically since the start of the pandemic, in-depth security changes and structural adjustment should be taken seriously to protect your organization.
- Finding Balance Between Work and Private Life
Employees working remotely may experience a blurred boundary between work and private life. Investing in the well-being of your remote employees may require an extra point of attention. While remote working does not necessarily affect employee productivity, it could pose a threat to communication and collaboration of the team.
Best Practices for Successful Remote Communication and Collaboration
There are several best practices for communication and collaboration to successfully establish a remote work policy.
- Determine Eligibility
The transition of in-office to remote work may depend on the industry your company is in. That is why companies must consider several factors if the job role and responsibility of their employees are eligible for remote work.
- Establish a Comfortable Workspace
Finding a comfortable work environment is essential for remote workers. Make sure to allow your employees to take several minutes away from their desks for a quick, short break.
- Create a Schedule
Both the department heads and the employees must agree to a new schedule. While the employee needs to be available at certain times, it should be limited to the company's core working hours.
As a solution, some companies offer their employees a flexible work schedule. However, many employers and supervisors have concerns regarding how they are to communicate effectively at work with employees clocking in at different times. Luckily, video conferencing and cloud-based collaboration encourages seamless communication among employees.
- Set an Agenda for Virtual Meetings
Having a clear agenda helps to ensure that the meeting runs smoothly. Share the agenda with the participants a few days in advance to give them a sense of what will be discussed and give them time to list down their questions and prepare their talking points.
When hosting an online meeting, do not forget to introduce yourself, identify the meeting attendees and their roles, and review the objective of the meeting. Conclude the conference by sharing a summary of the discussion and the action items assigned to team members.
- Video Conference
When discussing important points during a video meeting, look into the camera to establish eye contact and give your virtual colleagues a sense that you are talking directly to them.
- Know When to Mute
When you are not speaking, make sure to keep yourself muted during video or phone meetings. Background noises, such as pets or children playing, can disrupt sessions, especially to the speaker.
Businesses will continue must embrace this new work trend as long as the threats to health and safety remain. Make sure to put in place the best approach and remote work practices so operations continue to run smoothly.
The benefits of communication and collaboration can be achieved through proper implementation of remote work policy and proper migration and implementation of tools. Strengthen your strategies with BrantTel Networks. We offer unified communication system solutions and cloud contact centre in Kitchener and its nearby areas. Call us today at 1 (888) 632-0585 to speak to a trusted advisor, or schedule a short, no-obligation call now with our automated appointment setting app.