The world is ever changing and many of us find that our version of, “Going to Work” has changed a bit from how things were years ago. Some of us no longer have to take that car ride or train ride stressing over traffic or delays while heading to the office. For many of us, our workplace is now wherever our computer is. There are many great aspects of having the option to work remotely, however a big concern of not only employers but employees is perfecting the ability to stay connected in a remote workplace. Employers want to be sure that their team is staying committed and working together. They want to be sure that employees can brainstorm on projects and streamline communication so everyone can stay updated and grow as a team. Employees want to know that they can receive a response to a question within a reasonable amount of time or receive guidance when necessary. They want to know they aren’t alone in their workplace even though physically we may be far apart. It may not always be easy to find a balance- the great news is, it is possible!
Most people have that aunt, uncle or childhood friend that lives or moved to another state or country. Don’t we find ways to stay connected to them? We call, text, reach out via social media, or hop on a video call. So why do some people find it so difficult to stay connected in a virtual workplace? Nowadays people talk more in the virtual world than having a face to face conversation. Social Media allows ways to stay connected to the masses. Just because we don’t see everyone in person doesn’t mean it is impossible to get to know one another and form lasting relationships. So how do we stay connected and engaged? What is the right answer? Simply, there is no one answer. There is no one size fits all solution. We need to remind ourselves that what is a good form of communication for one person may not be the best fit for another. We need to try different methods until you find what works best.
There are multiple opportunities and tools we can use to stay connected. You can use an app for your communication platform such as Slack, Staff base or Google Chat. You can manage tasks with programs like Monday.com, Smartsheet, or Asana. There are an abundance of tools at your fingertips to use to keep in communication throughout your day. Poor communication in a workplace is not due to the lack of programs available to utilize. In order for people to stay connected each employee must accept that a part of working remote, especially when on a team, is to commit yourself to staying connected and add in the extra effort to do so.
You can add fun ways to stay connected such as celebrating team birthdays. If your team does not already document when all birthdays are, take it upon yourself to make note in your calendar the next time it is someone’s special day. Then you can reach out, send a funny card or simply send a quick text to let them know you care. In the workplace a common gathering area is usually wherever the coffee is located. In the virtual world we may not be able to share a pot of coffee however you can set up a coffee break with a co-worker and pick up the phone and chat for your break. Try and keep the conversation away from workplace topics and stay focused on giving yourself the break you deserve.
Forming relationships is an integral part to ensure we are improving communication.
Teams can set up weekly or daily calls and have specific topics to discuss. By alternating topics (not all business related) you can get to know one another, on not only a work level, but get to know more about your coworkers’ personalities and interests. Teams can set up gatherings which can be done virtually or in person. If sticking to the virtual world there are many different classes that you can provide as options for employees to join. These options can be suggested during work hours but also as after work functions. You can suggest classes to improve different skills related to the job or find fun classes too, such as learning a new hobby. Virtual events could include painting parties, a virtual game show or trivia nights. Offering options such as these allow for great team building opportunities.
Each person in a company holds individual importance to the functionality of a business as a whole. If one part is missing or lacking the whole group does not succeed. You can avoid this by making sure your teams communication skills are constantly improving and evolving. There are so many different ways we can stay connected but if you do not stick to the 3 C’s no number of apps, classes or events will help. The 3 C’s are: Create. Consistent. Communication.
We need to work on each of these items as a whole and Create Consistent Communication while also working at these three items individually.
Create: We all look to create the next best thing in the workplace. Whether that is creating a goal, creating a new product, creating a better way to systemize or a way to make a company succeed or improve. It is important to push ourselves and always be raising the standard of what success is to us. This can only be done by creating an environment for success. By opening the doors for communication to flow freely.
Consistent: It is important to stick to what you say you will do. Make sure you reply within a timely manner when someone reaches out. Setting clear and concise structure on expectations in regards to communication responses is important to maintaining consistency. Not only is it important to stay consistent with your timeliness and dependability you must stay consistent with your quality of work. Working in a remote world it is always great to reach out and have someone give their feedback. This is an excellent way to get a chance to engage with your team one on one and strengthen communication.
Communication: Communicating does not have to be done only in a verbal manner. You can reach out to coworkers by emailing, texting or by setting up a video call. Find what suits you best, and also utilize all of the options available to us in this modern world. There is no reason that reaching out and communicating should be difficult.
Each employee holds their own unique importance but together it means so much more and we can achieve so much more. This is the same as these three simple words. It is a choice to stay connected in the outside world as it is in the virtual world. You can be an introvert in either situation but it is the sole responsibility of every remote employee or employer to dedicate yourself to finding a way that works best for you to let your personality shine and create memorable conversation.
It is your job to Create.
It is your job to be Consistent.
It is your job to Communicate.