Do you have effective communication in your company? Will you continue to have effective communication with the recent shift to Distributed Workforce?
Good communication is paramount to hitting your company’s goals.
In today’s shift to a virtual or hybrid work environment , having strong communication can become increasingly difficult. Continuing with the same structure for communication and team building as “in office” will result in breakdown across teams and potential missed goals or deadlines.
Businesses have always adapted different communication styles that work well for them and their corporate culture. With the recent pandemic and shift to remote work, businesses once again find themselves needing to adapt.
So, what does this adaptation look like?
Simple. Technology. There are technologies available to you, at a reasonable cost, that have the means to create an “in office” culture while still working remotely! Here are some tips and tricks to keep you ahead of the competition:
WATER COOLER conversations have long been a great way to keep team bonding strong, passive learning simple, and peer-to-peer counsel alive. The good news is you can still have this “lunchroom” / “watercooler” experience virtually!
- Using the right technology such as Microsoft Teams, Ring Central Glip, Slack, or Skype are a great place to start.
- Create group chats that the entire company is a part of, for large companies, you may break this down further into regions or other ways but keep it across departments.
! These watercooler chat rooms should be encouraged to be used by the employees to discuss non work-related matters. From this chat room, employees will create specific chat rooms about certain topics that they can choose to join. Be sure to frequently advertise these groups via employee newsletters, general collateral, email, and web portals.
TEAM BUILDING exercises are essential for Millennial satisfaction in the workplace. With the shift to remote working, these employees may quickly become unengaged and disconnected. This reduced engagement and disconnection can cause lower productivity and increase in mistakes made.
But don’t worry! Team building exercises can still be done remotely via various technologies and policies!
- Schedule daily virtual stand ups, weekly team meetings, and random team building exercises such as games and online activities. (Although each of these is “another meeting”, the benefit from the team building and team collaboration will far outweigh the effects of another meeting and the time it consumes.)
- There are websites dedicated to helping with team games such as online trivia maker, jeopardy, virtual dance party, online yoga, and many more!
- You can host all these exercises in a Zoom or Microsoft Teams session.
GROUP BRAINSTORM SESSIONS typically happen monthly or quarterly in a conference room. If you’ve already implemented Zoom or Microsoft Teams or Ring Central into your office structure, continuing with these brainstorming sessions will be a breeze!
- Create a virtual conference room to still have these sessions.
! If your company is in a hybrid model, do not allow any in-office employees to meet in the conference room while others dial-in. Have everyone join from their desks to avoid the creation of “cliques” within the organization.
ONE-ON-ONE SESSIONS are “hit or miss” across businesses, but with the shift to distributed workforce, these should be done weekly with each employee with their direct manager. These one-on-one sessions are a great way to keep morale high, engagement strong, increase awareness of any potential issues, and keep projects on track.
- Use this time to connect with the employee. This should be more about “getting to know the person” and less about their work.
- Use the second half of the meeting to discuss their work. Set expectations for projects, tasks, and/or their work for the week.
! It can be easy for the employee to start to feel distant or disconnected from others when working virtually; however, if we use this time to connect with the employee and our team building to connect as a department, you will notice that the team culture stays strong while being in a distributed workforce.
What can you do to help them succeed? Review what they accomplished the previous week. It is easy to be concerned that production is slipping in a virtual environment. Managers then start to micromanage. By having these one on one sessions, this concern should dissipate.
RANDOM DROP INS are commonly mentioned on what employees miss when moving to a virtual environment. This is the casual stop by the desk to chat or pop into the office to quickly discuss a question.
- Keep these drop ins as part of your culture. You can use software such as SOCOCO to keep the in office “drop in” feel while being distributed or you can use standard video chat software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
- Encouraging these random drop ins may first feel awkward, but it will become normal and ultimately strengthen your corporate culture on an ongoing basis.
Adaptation can seem daunting.
Technologies should be considered a help when moving to a distributed platform and not a hindrance or an “added cost”. If you are concerned about increased expenses, consider this:
Studies have shown that on average an employer will save $11,000 per year for every employee who works remotely (Global Workplace Analytics).
This cost savings will more than offset the additional costs for implementing the technologies needed to keep a company culture strong and production on time.
Don’t wait! It is paramount to build in the technologies now while the culture is still intact.
Not sure where to start? Feel free to contact us any time . We provide a 30-minute complimentary consultation and would be happy to point you in the right direction!
The distributed workforce model is not going away, and it can either be your company’s competitive advantage or it will be your competitors.