How to Effectively Communicate, Collaborate and Connect with Your Team Remotely
Posted On May 19, 2020 By Advance Blog
During a normal day at the office, your team faces a string of almost constant interaction with others – from in-person team meetings to chatting with a coworker in the hall, your employees are used to a high level of human connection. That connection to others can naturally foster creativity and collaboration that can easily go unnoticed during a normal workday but may be the key to productivity that your team is missing as they adjust to working remotely.
As our work style has shifted to include more remote workers than ever, it is vital to mindset and productivity for your team to continue to find ways to reap the benefits of collaboration and remain feeling connected to your mission and strategy through effective communication. Below, we have listed tips for effective communication, collaboration, and connection with your team as we all adjust to working differently.
Add Virtual Connection to Your Schedule
Without the daily exchange of face-to-face pleasantries or quick collaboration on the fly, your employees may be feeling disconnected from the team. Additionally, without the benefit of facial expressions or tone naturally leveraged in person, a message has a higher chance of being misconstrued over email or through a quick chat.
Try This: Schedule 15 minutes daily to connect via video chat with your team. This will give everyone an opportunity to quickly catch up and discuss priorities for the day. You may be surprised at how quickly you can foster a more positive, productive mindset within your team!
Extra Credit: Schedule a “Virtual Happy Hour” at the end of the day on Friday afternoons to celebrate the weekend! Invite employees to share a win, express their gratitude for another team member, or get to know each other better with a quick game. The options are endless, and your team will love it!
Get Your Point Across with Video
We all know how quickly a relationship or project can go sour when someone misunderstands the meaning behind something that was communicated. As many (or all!) of our teams work remotely, a miscommunication is something that could easily arise.
Try This: Leverage video and video conferencing technology wherever possible when communicating with your team. Whether a strategic meeting or a quick question, encourage the team to call instead of text, and while they are doing so – turn on their camera! This quick change in behavior makes for more inclusive meetings and promotes being present and engaged. It can also help to see facial expressions to increase connection and understanding.
Extra Credit: If you can’t collaborate with a video call or a member of your team cannot make the meeting, simply leverage your video conferencing tool to record your meeting (or simply yourself talking) and share that video with those who were not in attendance. This will save time for both parties involved and mitigate the risk of something being misconstrued or not communicated at all.
Setup Remote Workers with the Right Technology to Collaborate Effectively
In your office, your team is probably set up with technology that is safe and secure, right sized for specific workflows and that they are entirely comfortable leveraging in order to get the job done. As we transition to a more prevalent work-from-home culture, the tools that are available to your team change just as the way in which collaboration has changed. What tools does your team need in order to be successful as they work-from-home?
Try This: Arm all employees with a work-from-home “starter kit”. This toolkit may include: a laptop, a phone, secure internet access, email functionality, phone and video conferencing technology and access to internal files and programs.
Extra Credit: As many of us rely more heavily on video conferencing tools than face-to-face collaboration these days, it may be beneficial to outfit your employees’ work-from-home stations with enhanced technology designed to make video conferencing a more manageable and enjoyable experience. Start by investing in increased bandwidth for your team members’ internet connection to ensure that they can collaborate through a video call while also leveraging other tools on their workstation. Additionally, purchase webcams and headphones with a microphone for employees who do not have that equipment available to them so that everyone on the team can benefit from a video call.
Become a Master of Video Conferencing Tools
Once your team has the video conferencing equipment that they need, it is time to begin using the technology to its fullest capacity. Consider encouraging team members to leverage any training available to you through your video conferencing tool.
Try This: Just as there is proper meeting etiquette when collaborating face-to-face, there is also video conferencing etiquette and best practices that, when leveraged, can make the experience much more positive for everyone on the call. For instance, learn how to share your screen to showcase a document that you are collaborating on, blur out the background behind you so that the focus remains on you (and not the folded laundry on the couch!), and ask that your team mute their microphone when they are not speaking in order to keep the focus on whoever is talking and limit the distractions that may pop up in their home.
Extra Credit: Designate a team member to take a deep dive into the functionality around your specific tool and share that wisdom with the team! Some notable functions may include sharing a video with sound during a meeting, leveraging file sharing and chat functionality during a video call, and recording the meeting for those who could not be in attendance.
Share Information Quickly and Securely
Securing the entirety of your remote workforce can be a challenge to say the least! With new technology, personal devices, and home networks being leveraged to share information, it is more important than ever to put information security at the top of your list of priorities.
Try This: Ensure that all company data is safe from cyberattack. In order to prevent interception, be sure to encrypt any transmitted data, and set your team up with a secure VPN (virtual private network) that will allow your employees to leverage a public or home network with the same safety precautions in place as they would benefit from on your private, company network. Additionally, employees should be hyper-aware of not clicking on suspicious links, should update their passwords frequently, and should avoid using public or unsecured networks.
Extra Credit: Replace your in-office, paper-based workflows with cloud options. As working remotely slowly becomes the new long-term reality for some, consider investing in hardware for some employees that allows them to scan and store documents in the cloud and which allows your team to access and retrieve those documents remotely. These tools can easily turn a paper-based workflow into a cloud-based workflow, securely and efficiently, after the document was initially scanned in.
Download the Webinar: Remote Workforce Activation & Work-from-Home Best Practices
After weeks of organizations and the community implementing fast-paced, crucial adjustments to staying indoors and operating business remotely, it is time to collectively take a breath and re-evaluate the technology, security and policy resources that you have put in place in order to meet the demands of your remote workforce.
As we adjust to the new normal and prepare for business in the coming months, it is imperative that your organization audit your policy to ensure that your organization is set up to successfully operate for the long haul.
Check out our quick work-from-home best practices webinar that will provide a blueprint that you can use to audit your current technology, security and policy resources and revise as necessary. This guide will not only set you up for success today, but will also ensure that you are building a policy that stands the test of time.
Schedule a Video Conference Call with an Advance IT Expert to Learn More!
Fill out this contact form and an Advance IT Expert will contact you to schedule a video conference call to talk best practices for remote collaboration, communication and connection with your team, or to answer any questions you may have. We look forward to speaking with you!