Remote teams face daily communication challenges.
Data from HubSpot reveals that remote workers cite ‘lack of social connection’ and ‘communication with colleagues’ as the 2 main struggles they face because of remote working structures.
When colleagues don’t work together in the same place, it’s important for business owners and their management teams to make communication intentional and not left to chance.
But how do you know if your team isn’t communicating effectively?
Here are some of the most obvious signs that your team isn’t communicating well.
Too many meetings.
Of course, some meetings are necessary and important. However, overscheduling remote meetings to cover old ground suggests poor communication in the first instance.
Before we schedule another online meeting, we might like to consider
- Could this be sent in an email or said over the phone?
- Does everyone need to be there, or does this only concern individuals?
- Is this meeting a productive use of people’s time?
- The length of our meetings…the shorter and more efficient the better.
There’s no structure or agenda to meetings.
While we’re on the subject of meetings, whether remote or in person, meetings require an agenda and structure. Remote meetings should be both to make sure they’re productive.
Tips to keep your meetings on track include
- Scheduling in the 5 minutes chit-chat before you get going.
- Send the agenda prior to the start of the meeting.
- Set your expectations, and be consistent with these.
Loose boundaries and behaviours.
Your remote team’s boundaries and behaviours should be clear and established. Everyone’s working hours and breaks should be visible and expectations over contact should be set out.
You might like to set up a Google calendar or agree with the team that everyone’s working status is visible to indicate their availability.
Whatever method you choose, it should be communicated to, and actioned by, everyone.
There’s no appreciation.
Your remote team should be helped to communicate by forming connections. One of the best ways to form colleague connections is to show gratitude and appreciation for one another.
For example, people should feel free to congratulate each other or offer thanks in a group chat.
An appreciation thread is a great way to build connections and encourage trust within the team.
Managers are redoing work.
If you are a manager and you’re consistently finding you are redoing tasks you’ve delegated to others, this is a sign that your team isn’t understanding what is asked of them. Typically, it means that the assignment wasn’t clear and your expectations weren’t well communicated.
Simply re-doing the task isn’t going to solve the problem. Schedule a one-on-one meeting to clear up any misunderstandings and actively listen to your colleague once you’ve done so. Ask them to repeat back to you what it is they think they’ve been asked to do. This way you know you’re both on the same page.
There’s a high turnover rate.
If you have a high turnover rate among your remote team, it’s likely that that is down to connection.
Remote workers are more likely to feel disconnected – either from the brand or the work. As a business leader, it’s your job to improve that connection. The best way to do this is to proactively offer more productive and meaningful communication opportunities to your team.
In an office environment, communication can be taken for granted. Getting to know a colleague both professionally and personally is easier. We see them day in and day out meaning off-the-cuff chats are commonplace and regular.
In contrast, remote working requires intentional communication. It can’t be taken for granted. As business leaders, we have to be aware of our remote teams and afford them the same opportunities for interaction and connection. This will help us retain our staff, but also enable us to create a positive and productive working environment.
Perhaps remote working is having an impact on your organisation and you want to learn more about it. We have masses of useful articles for both business leaders and employees. A little while ago, we collated them all in one blog post. Here’s the link to our Remote Woking Blog Round-Up.