In the current state of the world, maintaining a high level of communication with your team is essential to not only your team’s success but also your company’s survival. The process of moving from an office environment to working from home can be daunting and while it is a big undertaking, it is actually an extremely effective and beneficial way to work if done right. To help you make this transition and thrive during the pandemic, below is a short guide to use when referenced when communicating with your newly remote team.
Use Video Conference Calls
Instead of relying on text messaging and phone calls, make use of the many applications out there such as Zoom that allow you to host and join video conference calls to stay better connected with your co-workers and employees. Not only are these video conferences great ways to stay productive, but they are also a great way for your team to stay connected, helping them still feel like a team even though they are unable to physically see each other. Depending on how many people you want to speak with online, you could consider a virtual event platform such as Dryfta to assist you.
One of the bigger issues with remote work is maintaining communication when you may be used to speaking to co-workers mostly, or in some cases exclusively, while you are at work together. It is critical that you and your team stay connected not only to continue producing good quality work but also to support each other in a time where it is most certainly needed.
We recommend you have weekly team meetings over Zoom or a similar application to keep everyone used to working with one another. In addition, if you are a manager we recommend that you periodically check-up with your team individually to make sure they have everything they need and are just generally doing well.
Make an effort
The following tips may sound pointless or silly at first, but we promise it makes a huge difference that will definitely be noticed during your virtual meetings.
Use decent headphones with a microphone
Our first tip is to not rely on your laptop or computer’s built-in microphone and be sure to use headphones instead of your speakers. A great option that ticks both boxes is to use a pair of phone headphones as they will have a mic already built-in to the headphones themselves. The external microphone will be closer to your mouth and more importantly, will be further away from your computer’s fans, making you much clearer. The headphones will prevent any echo from being fed back into the call for everyone else to hear.
Consider getting a better webcam
Similarly to the previous tip, while your laptop or computer may already have a built-in webcam, consider buying an external one as you will more than likely get a better image by replacing it. This one isn’t quite as important as the headphones and mic but will still make a noticeable difference.
Make sure you have a stable internet connection
This one is a no brainer and is absolutely essential to hosting successful online meetings. Nobody will enjoy a meeting where the host is lagging, cutting out, or muffled because their internet connection is bad. Make sure you test different areas in your house for the best connection and, if possible, get a hardwired connection to your router.
Change up your background
Whether you have sensitive information visible that you want to hide, frequent distractions behind you, or even just an untidy room, virtual Zoom backgrounds are an incredible tool for cutting down on distractions, maintaining your privacy, or even just adding a little humor to your meetings depending on which one you go with.
Set time-sensitive goals
Now, by this, we don’t want to encourage micromanaging in any way, but setting realistic, reachable, time-sensitive goals is a great way to keep your team focused and on track. This is especially true for teams that are split up in different locations, for example around the world. Time-sensitive goals will help to ensure that everyone is doing their part and you can check up on the goals during your daily or weekly meeting.
Unlike in face to face meetings, if you are not actively involved in an online meeting, if you are not speaking, for example, it is very easy to get distracted and tune out what is being discussed. This is especially true if you are working from home as you will likely already be more relaxed than normal simply by being in your own personal space. To avoid any members of your team zoning out and daydreaming, try to actively keep everyone involved in whatever you are discussing at any point. If you notice someone being particularly quiet, ask them a question or for their opinion on something, this will not only keep them focused, but will also help them to feel as though they are involved and a valued part of the team.
Be patient, positive, and flexible
Remote work is a new concept for most people and the presence of a worldwide virus has only made things more confusing and crazier. It is important that you, as a leader, stay patient, positive, and flexible with your team to help them get through it while still producing good work.