The face of the office has changed beyond all recognition in recent times, and this has extended to how we communicate too. Face to face meetings and informal chats by the water cooler have all but ceased to exist.
But, as every business will know, communication is at the forefront of how you build and strengthen your team, which is why staying in touch needs to be reimagined rather than forgotten about altogether.
Here are our top tips on staying connected with remote and office workers to tell you more.
Work Management Software
If you’re used to working in a traditional office setting, you probably haven’t given work management platforms much thought until now. The likes of Slack, Monday and Microsoft Teams allow for easy collaboration, regardless of geographical location. Even when workers begin to return to the office, such platforms will prove invaluable as we move forward.
One of the biggest benefits with the likes of Monday is that you can monitor the progress of your projects. Everyone can log into the same screen and see where the project is at, making it much easier than having to schedule constant check-ins with your employees. Teams can even assign jobs to each other, making projects run much more smoothly.
From a communication perspective, it’s hugely useful to have all of your conversations documented. If anyone needs to go over certain details again, they are right in front of them. Compare this with listening to a long presentation, and it’s much easier for your team to retain details and remain engaged.
The likes of team meetings and even conference days are firmly on pause right now. While it’s for the greater good, it’s still imperative to regularly check in with your team. Instead of using Zoom solely for work meetings, it can also be used for virtual get-togethers too. Doing so can help boost the mental health of your employees, and strengthen teamwork overall.
Sadly, isolation is something all of us are going to be contending with, especially when most people aren’t even going to work as normal. Some employees may even live alone, making them far more susceptible to feelings of loneliness.
Even simple ideas such as a virtual dress down Fridays (you could switch this to fancy dress!) or quiz nights can help boost morale. Another idea that’s doing the rounds is instead of a ‘Secret Santa’, have your employees randomly nominated to give another employee a call or even have everyone on rotation. By keeping everyone in close contact, they are less likely to feel the effects of isolation.
Talking about positivity at a time of great uncertainty might seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s key to boosting morale. Given most conversations are understandably dominated by world events, it’s easy to get caught up with what’s on the news, rather than how your employees or teammates are feeling.
That’s why it’s important to find opportunities to add lightness or optimism into the day. Such as sharing success stories within the company. Tell your employees about the great feedback you have from customers, or how their work has had a positive impact. Now is also a great time to undertake virtual employee roundtable events. Sharing positive statements of how others impact their work will make everyone feel more valued.
Ultimately, anyways you can find to inject positivity into the day will be greatly appreciated by your team. Hopefully, soon enough, we will all be back in the office together doing what it is we do best. Until then, staying in contact with your remote workers is essential.
What do the pros think:
We’ve been able to interview a few well-known business leaders so that you can get an insight into how they work and what they’ve been doing to ensure they stay connected to their remote workers. He’s what they had to say:
Paul Sleath, CEO at PEO Worldwide says that “communication shouldn’t be a chore! How employees interact with each other to reach organisational goals is integral to business success and growth. So, with this new remote way of working, organisations need to introduce digital workplace strategies that encourage collaboration and communication, enabling employees to work together effectively regardless of location.”
Martin Bown, the founder and MD of My Management Accountant says that “You should have complete trust in the abilities and professionalism of the team you’ve built. But also have a mixture of communication – just like in the office, not everything is business talk. Chat about what’s going on outside work. We have a co-working space set up in Teams where we can join if we want to sit and work but have others ‘there’ with us. We can chat, catch up etc all while working on our own things.”
Richard Owen-Hughes, Group Marketing Director at Driver Hire Training advises that “Feelings of isolation and lack of progress are some of the most common complaints about remote-working, but just because staff are working from home, doesn’t mean their development should be hindered. Managers should continue to book in regular training sessions via webinar or video call, exactly as they would if they were still in the office. This method of training doesn’t need to be constricted to desk-based staff only, as online training can be carried out across all areas of a business.”
Director of 10Eighty, Liz Sebag-Montefiore gave us a fun, whacky idea! Liz suggested that you could “host a virtual dance with cheery music playing when all team members log in to kick off the party with high energy.” This could help to keep people happy, motivated and connected through the week.
Max Freeman, Commercial Manager at Cartridge People said that he’s “actually started making notes of what people have been up to, names of their partners and children (some born since March) because, without the communal office, you can sometimes lose that reminder to check in on how someone is. That’s a consequence of working from home in that it’s easy for staff to become disengaged by not being spoken to. Having my notes so I can make sure I know the people in my team is crucial for me and something I’d recommend so you can make sure you’re putting the people first.”
Advanced Commercial Interiors has been helping businesses reimagine their office and commercial spaces since 2009. Based in Nottingham, we cover the whole of the UK including Derby, Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester. From small re-fits to something a little more ambitious, drop us a line on 0115 939 7572 with your project enquiry and we’ll be in touch.