How to communicate more effectively with your remote team

HR leaders can ensure team cohesion by teaching department heads best practices that enhance engagement with remote workers. A growing number of enterprises recognize the benefits of hiring remote workers. However, it can prove challenging to communicate more effectively with your remote team after relinquishing all opportunities for face-to-face interaction.

More than three-quarters of surveyed organizations believe that email is no longer sufficient. Nevertheless, studies show that the average employee spends over four hours a day checking email.

Miscommunication can cost the average business approximately $5,200 for each employee every year. As an HR executive, you can ensure that miscommunication doesn’t result in costly mistakes and wasteful practices.

By ensuring that managers know how to work with remote team members effectively, you can help to save your organization from profit mangling miscommunications.

Communications matters

From presentations to customer engagement, communication permeates nearly every business unit. Poor communication can erode a company’s core systems. Nevertheless, studies show that 60% of organizations do not assess the effectiveness of their internal communication.

Poor communication leads to lost revenue and internal organizational conflicts. By ensuring that employees have the training and tools needed to communicate effectively, you can increase productivity, sidestep barriers and reduce internal disagreements.

According to Suzanne Rohan Jones, a career counselor and associate instructor with Maryville University’s online psychology program, “The key to successful communication and productivity with a remote team is to remember they are a team first, remote second.  Just as an in-person team relies on principles of collaboration, communication, conflict resolution, self-management, and goal setting to work effectively together, a remote team functions best with the same principles in mind.”

To begin, you’ll need to examine the workflows of various departments. You can then research the type of tools that might help you meet the demands of various stakeholders.

Today, there’s no excuse for ineffective communication. There are many free to low-cost tools on the market.

Promote communication

To promote how to communicate more effectively with your remote team, your organization needs a standardized system and modern tools for sharing information. Also, it’s important to remember that communication flows two ways – even for top executives.

By promoting effective communication among organizational stakeholders, you can develop a corporate culture that encourages feedback and fosters career growth.

Effective communication can increase worker satisfaction and productivity by up to 25%. Also, it improves morale and helps organizations achieve desired outcomes.

Engaged employees deliver better customer service, and better customer service leads to increased revenue. Resultantly, effective communications help enterprises reach desired goals. By establishing a framework for effective communication, you can reduce errors and improve organizational performance.

The following are four ways to communicate more effectively with your remote team.

1. Laying the Foundation for Remote Team Success

One of the most significant benefits of the remote work environment is increased efficiency. In traditional office settings, workers lose an average of six hours of productivity due to unnecessary interruptions, meetings and distractions.

A remote work environment doesn’t eliminate distractions. However, it does help to eliminate undesirable management issues, such as overbooking and micromanaging.

Still, remote teams need a formalized structure. Tools such as Wizergos enable managers to host a workspace where team members can collaborate consistently.

2. Measure, Measure Then Measure Again

Most people understand that it’s a privilege to work from home. However, not all remote workers appreciate the benefits of their nontraditional work environment. As a result, managers need to track team performance to ensure that they complete work as required.

“Regular progress checks for each team member with the team leader will help ensure that objectives are being met in a timely and accurate manner while the team members continue to feel valued for their contributions to both team and organization,” says Jones

“These regular progress checks can serve as the basis of a successful performance management system, including all employees in the organizational culture and supporting them with resources and communication to keep their actions and goals aligned with those of the organization while valuing their individual input.”

Tools such as Jell enable managers to establish goals and performance indicators that correlate worker performance to quantifiable results. It also enables managers to quickly identify who’s performing as desired as well as whose underperforming.

3. Communication Goes Both Ways

Managers need to maintain full awareness of the work-related activities of remote workers. However, it’s also beneficial for workers to have an awareness of their manager’s work-related progress.

Transparency increases morale. In turn, a team with exceptional morale is much easier to manage. Managers can provide transparency by sending daily email briefs or setting up a Trello or Asana board where workers can see their schedule.

4. Leverage Technology for Effective Communication

In the traditional office setting, a manager can walk up to an employee at any time and ask an important question. The remote work environment, however, removes this convenience.

“Regularly scheduled communication is especially important for remote workers who may be on different time zones, so I encourage online meetings or conference calls on a weekly basis at the minimum (depending on the work or project time frame, of course).  E-mail and text messages are useful for quick checks and to keep the lines of communication and feedback open for all,” adds Jones.

There are times when managers have inquiries that require urgent attention. Tools such as Slack enable managers to communicate with employees in real-time using the chat feature.

Employees can also use the tool to communicate with each other. For more personalized engagement, staff members can also use Slack to make an internet call or host a video chat.

One way that the remote work environment benefits employers is that it provides access to diverse talent. However, working with people from vastly different backgrounds requires effective communication.

Every organization should review communication needs regularly and optimize their practices and resources accordingly. By ensuring that internal stakeholders can communicate effectively, you’ll position your organization for long-term, sustainable growth.

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.