10 Tips for Remote or Hybrid Work Communication
Since the pandemic, communication between colleagues expanded beyond email, meetings, and phone calls. Platforms like Slack, Teams, Zoom, Trello, and more were added to help people continue working from home. Now, it might not always be clear which is the most effective channel to communicate through. Below are ten suggestions to take the guesswork out of hybrid and remote office communication:
1. Agree upon a system of communication
No matter what your office uses to communicate, every person on the team should have a clear understanding of what to use and how to respond. For example, if you have a pressing question on a major project with a tight deadline, then phone calls or instant messages will probably be your communication of choice. Having a clear system for both in-person and remote workers will make a collaborative work environment without leaving one or the other in the dark.
2. Everyone is off mute
Hybrid and remote work situations mean that technology will be a major factor in your communication. For those in-office, point out where mics and cameras are located so those remote can clearly hear and see what is going on in the meeting. Those working remote or hybrid should check their microphone and video to make sure they are not on mute during an important call.
3. Speaking opportunities
Not every office works 100% remotely. Hybrid work situations mean employees need to be more aware of speaking opportunities in meetings. Those in person might take over the meeting and forget there are others online who can contribute to the conversation. Allow time for those online or on the phone to chime in to avoid exclusivity.
4. Plan for delays
Every platform and technology has its quirks and bugs. System updates should be a regular part of everyone’s routine, no matter the location. Besides tech problems we can avoid, there are plenty that we cannot, so be sure to schedule in time between meetings. It is better to prepare for disaster than be pressed for time.
5. Schedule check-ins
Unlike in-office work life, your manager can’t easily walk around to everyone’s desk and strike up a conversation. Be as transparent as possible when you communicate with others on your workload, stress, and struggles. Regular check-ins can keep an open line of communication for questions, stretch opportunities, and more. Your colleagues will be super thankful to have that time.
6. Clear next steps after every communication
Asking a complex question and receiving a yes/no response can be frustrating. Whenever you communicate, no matter the platform, make sure that your responses leave clear next steps, answers, or solutions to whatever was asked of you. Also, consider responding to messages on platforms that do not say if they were read. For example, if someone sends a Slack message to say a project was complete and ready for review, respond with a thumbs up or other quick messages so they know you read their message. While this can add up when you get over 100 emails and messages a day, you will become better at knowing what needs responses over time.
7. Make resources accessible
Everyone might prefer one platform over another and have different skill levels when it comes to technology. Make sure everyone on the team knows where to find resources and important documents. That could be resharing the weekly Zoom or Teams meeting link every Monday morning through email. It could be a Dropbox or Google Drive folder that houses all the client information.
8. Celebrate success
Incorporate a place or time to celebrate each other’s successes. Company culture is important even when employees are at home. People want to feel appreciated and invested in no matter the industry or work location. Create a forum or virtual bulletin board where coworkers can share support and successes with the team. The more specific the note is, the better. It will help others recognize their skills and provide everyone with a little boost of confidence.
9. Company Culture Growth
Hybrid and remote workers can’t always go out to get a drink after work or meet up for a group activity because the whole point of online work is to work from anywhere in the world. Team building exercises will need to change to incorporate everyone’s time and availability. Ask your coworkers what they like to do for fun and find common ground. Engage them in activities they want to do and with some that grow their knowledge or skills professionally. Fun and happiness are just as important.
Another unique aspect of hybrid and remote work is that everyone can be in different time zones. Besides meetings, sending a quick question out to a colleague could be in the middle of the night for them. Respecting people’s boundaries between work and home is very important when avoiding burnout.
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