It has been already expressed in the post ”Remote work and face-to-face meetings” how important the communication aspect is when it comes to cooperation with your team of remote workers. Nevertheless, communication is a subject of constant improvement. When you manage the work of people from different countries and time zones, many misunderstandings or understatements may arise, which can easily lead to smaller or bigger conflicts, which in turn cause a bad blood within the team. Certainly you don’t want it to happen, especially if you have a team of good experts and you see that the cooperation between the members is becoming more and more smooth. Here are some tips and good practices how to improve communication in your remote team.
Be clear and consistent
Setting clear and consistent expectations towards your remote employees is the key to effectively communicate with them. Nothing is so important as this, because only clear messages don’t cause any misunderstandings. Also, instead of writing or saying thousands of words, the effective communication should be as short as possible and include as much necessary information as possible at the same time. Concise and direct messages leave little room for possible misinterpretation, thanks to which there is also little room for making errors. Make also sure you give your employees the opportunity to ask questions in front of the team, which also minimizes the possibility of misunderstandings.
Set up 1:1 meetings when possible
While meetings with a whole project team a crucial aspect of project communication, keeping a constant dialogue with individuals is also important. Why? Team meetings give you a broader picture of how the things are going in the current project, while one-on-one meetings will give you a better biew into someone’s individual charatcteristics and thier input to the team. Moreover, you may learn whether one is enabled, comfortable, and receives anything they need from you, the client, and the rest of the project team to complete their work efficiently and timely. What also plays an important role is that you make sure all the team members feel comfortable contacting each other, so that you don’t have to be a middleman during every team discussion.
By this succint subheading I actually mean two things. First one – if your remote team consists of people coming from different time zones, it would be critical to base your scheduling communication on one designated set time. Use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) as your universal time. Once that’s been established, it can be easier to schedule meeting times that work for everyone in the team. While it can be troublesome to get everyone at the same meeting, especially if one person is in Warsaw and another person is in New York, it’s possible. Second thing – it stems from the first one – you need to establish time that is suitable for everyone. Try to make your scheduling decisions as fair as possible to all parties—what might be a morning meeting to you may be an evening meeting to another party, and vice-versa. Because it’s not fair to consistently have one team with the less-desired meeting time, rotate meeting times semi-monthly.
Get your team together
Yes, it might not be even possible to meet face-to-face with your employees, especially if they come from different countries. But once you realized it is possible, it’s a great idea to get your team together in real-life, even once or twice a year. This way, everybody can get to know one another, and you’ll see a huge increase in the morale and the productivity of your team. What also might be a good way to integrate with the employees, would be to organize video conferences with the team once a week or bi-weekly just to hang out and chat. You may of course implement some business connected cases, e.g. how the things are going in the company, but the most essential aspect of this conference should be integration and getting to know each other.