Tips for Establishing Excellent Communication in a Remote Setting
Your virtual office backgrounds are all set, and everyone can access the main chat channel. What else can you do to ensure good communication among your remote team? Two great ideas are implementing fun activities and regularly soliciting feedback.
Opportunities for Fun Activities
People communicate more effectively once they get to know each other. Unfortunately, remote work removes many of the ways coworkers bond:
- Break room hangouts
- Shared lunches
- Long walks to the parking garage
However, supervisors can create opportunities for team members to learn more about their colleagues. The key is ensuring everyone stays engaged. The best way to do that is to schedule a team meeting filled with fun activities.
Play Online Games
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games are a dime a dozen on the internet, giving offices plenty of options for a fun hour of bonding. Games such as World of Warcraft let colleagues interact through text and voice chat, allowing them to work together to solve problems, slay beasts and complete quests.
If you want something with less structure, your team can meet in the virtual world of Second Life. Individuals can make their own avatars and even create massive maps for others to explore. Some organizations even hold digital seminars in Second Life, so your team can pursue professional development with experts from all over the world.
Have Coffee Together
When people work in the same office building, they'll often get food together during their time off:
- Coffee break
However, remote teams often work flexible hours, or coworkers may not be in the same city. The good news is that you can still achieve the same effect with virtual hangouts.
These periods should be more casual and focus on team members getting to know each other. For example, everyone can look through the free Zoom office backgrounds for something fun or apply silly filters to their camera feed. Keep these informal meetings short (no longer than an hour), and make it clear that employees are free to come and go as they please.
Welcome and Gather Feedback
There are endless articles about providing feedback to employees, but how do workers communicate their needs to higher-ups? Unless you make it clear that you welcome feedback, employees may hold back out of fear of stepping on someone's toes.
One way to encourage feedback is to establish an open-door policy allowing any team member to approach you at any time, for any reason. This method ensures employees don't delay important feedback because they're unsure if it's the right time to say something.
You can also solicit feedback during one-on-one meetings with employees. After reviewing their performance, open the floor for responses:
- Do they have any concerns?
- Do they have any new ideas to improve policies?
- Do they have all the tools they need to succeed?
Solidarity goes a long way toward success as a team. A Zoom background with company logo creates a visual reminder that everyone shares the same goals. When your team members think of themselves as parts of a greater whole, they're more likely to communicate openly and often.