Communicating in remote settings post-pandemic
When the working world went remote, collaboration took on a whole new meaning. Employers scrambled to get the right tools in place so their teams could chat, message, talk, meet, and brainstorm from dozens of locations at once.
But even with the endless Zoom meetings, emails, and notifications, isolation crept in. Remote workers may enjoy the flexibility of their new working arrangements, but many still feel adrift and hungry for the human interaction of the office. 33% of employees say they’re struggling due to a lack of social interaction with colleagues, according to a recent survey, and 22% say the lack of connection with the office is one of the biggest challenges of remote work.
So how do you make people feel a part of the team when they’re not actually with their team? By prioritizing communication.
In the two years since the pandemic began, most companies have adopted some form of remote work but their success in making the switch has varied greatly. It’s not enough to just get your workers the right tech, there has to be a corresponding shift in the company culture, towards an atmosphere of mindful communication and cohesion.
Be clear and consistent
Throughout the pandemic companies were playing defense - reacting to the seismic shifts in the market rather than plotting a careful course. Now’s the time to assess, meet with your teams, and define expectations in the new normal - whether you are working remotely or in-office.
- Outline KPIs and other performance metrics so there’s no confusion over what targets you want to hit
- Reiterate each team member’s role and responsibilities within their department and across the company as a whole
- Make it clear that you’re available if they have concerns or issues, sharing your calendar and the process for getting in touch
The above suggestions are especially important if you’ve made any additions to the team in the last couple years. New hires, taken on as remote workers, can feel like strangers when you’ve never had a chance to meet them face to face. Managers will need to go the extra mile with new staff to give them a sense of stability and connection.
Encourage different forms of communication
With no communal coffee breaks or watercooler chats, it’s common for remote workers to get locked into their own projects and miss what’s happening elsewhere.
Disconnected employees often need to be reminded that they’re part of a larger organization, working towards a common goal. That’s why it’s important for managers to encourage interdepartmental communication, fostering connections across teams as well as within them.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to nurture opportunities for collaboration:
- Identify any areas of overlap between departments so you can see where different skills can complement each other
- Encourage regular dialogue between teams so they can explore future opportunities for joint projects
- Create streamlined networks to facilitate better communication between teams such as shared platforms and applications
Build company cohesion
A company isn’t just a cluster of workers, it’s a community. Lean into that spirit of collaboration with programs that build cohesion both horizontally and vertically.
These could include:
- Mentorship programs, pairing senior staff with their junior counterparts
- Quarterly in-person corporate retreats or events
- Informal team-building activities
Be alert to burnout
Even in the most collaborative workplaces, employees can fall through the cracks. People who are on the brink of burnout can drop off the grid partially or completely, and managers have to be on the lookout for this.
Working remotely can make it hard to spot when a team member is off their game. And many employees don’t feel comfortable opening up when they’re struggling - they may have concerns about letting their team down, be worried about the stigma of mental health issues, or simply put too much pressure on themselves.
Managers need to be alert to this, making the extra effort to check in with staff and being quick to respond to red flags such as absenteeism, sudden dips in performance, and changes in behavior.
Using an Employee Productivity Monitoring solution like Prodoscore can help managers keep track of what’s going on with their teams. The platform monitors your team’s daily activities, collecting and presenting this data in a single, easy to read interface that creates insight into how employees are engaged each day. Prodoscore’s scoring system allows managers to quickly see who’s falling behind and who could use a break. It’s the ideal tool for remote teams, ensuring that managers know when their communication strategies are helping or hindering their workers. Schedule a demonstration today to see Prodoscore in action.