How to Communicate With Your Remote Workers

Jun 9, 2020

Without a doubt, these are unprecedented times. Very rarely has society been forced to pause due to unbelievable circumstances, but the COVID-19 pandemic has done just that. In turn, many businesses and offices have temporarily closed their doors and are allowing employees to work from home. For those who are working from home, it’s a significant change from their office environment. New distractions and circumstances may alter productivity for teams and individuals. Nevertheless, it’s essential for managers, team leads, and other leaders to know how to communicate with your remote workers to avoid any of these potential issues.

Know Who You’re Talking To

An easy way to boost your remote communication skills is to know who you’re talking to. Each business consists of many workers, each with their own personality, work style, work ethic, strengths, and weaknesses. Managers in charge of robust teams like these should know each of their members’ traits and flaws. While the open office allowed people to engage with each other freely, remote work does not. Even so, it’s your role to facilitate that engagement on-screen. You may have individuals who are uncomfortable engaging with you, and that’s okay. Just know these individuals may need a different set of mannerisms and tones to open them up. Alternatively, other team members who are used to open engagement may lead the conversations for you. Don’t be alarmed if this happens, and welcome it with open arms, eyes, and ears.

Aside from understanding your employees’ personality traits, you may find it beneficial to know their likes and interests. Talk with them about their after-work life (if they’re open to sharing). You may learn more about them as a person, as a worker, and as your teammate. The more you know about a person, the stronger the bond is between you and the team. This can spur productivity and quality work that they may not have exhibited before. If all that results is a stronger social bond between two people, then you’ve still forged a positive connection.

Avoid Miscommunication

Besides knowing who you’re talking to, do your best to avoid any miscommunication with staff. There’s nothing easy about working remotely. It’s awkward, lagging, and mistakes are inevitable. However, one thing that can also occur is miscommunication. Suppose you send an email or message to your employee with a simple explanation, compliment, or performance review. The absence of facial cues, tone of voice, and ability to ask and answer immediate questions can lead to misinterpretation. You can avoid this with a phone call or video chat so that the person sees and hears your facial expression and tone. Keep a close eye on your tone, words, phrases, and spelling (if sending a text response) to ensure you deliver your message as clearly as expected.

Make Sure Everyone Has the Capability to Work Remotely

It goes without saying that everyone should have the resources they need to work remotely. Technology can often be confusing and counterintuitive, which can lead to performance issues. Unlike at the office, not everyone has access to internal databases, efficient hardware, and essential work software. It is your responsibility to make sure your employees have access to these services for optimal work. Also, teach them the fundamentals of each resource in case they don’t know its purpose. With these services, your employees will work as efficiently as when they’re in the office.

Your employees may also need access to important data. You may have to relay this to your IT team so they can grant each worker data access. Naturally, IT protects this data from outside data breaches from hackers or malicious users, but it may prohibit your employees as well, given their external IP addresses. With universal data, each employee can work on their respective tasks in the comfort of their remote work environments.

Employees also are in need of adequate equipment and furniture in order to fulfill their duties for the company. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and Rework is here to help. You can read all of our recommendations on our blog highlighting what office equipment you should give remote workers.

Set Guidelines and Expectations

With that, don’t be afraid to set your own guidelines and expectations for each worker. Since everyone works remotely, it’s imperative you lay down the rules, instructions, and outlook for each project or task. Your employees should have some knowledge of their work, but it never fails to double-check quality assurance. Relay your expectations through a clear, organized message that iterates the projections for the daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly performance standards.

Schedule Remote Meetings and One-on-Ones

Another tip to communicate with your remote workers is periodically checking in with them. Group meetings and one-on-ones connect you with your employees in an intimate, friendly atmosphere. These meetings serve multiple purposes, but most important, they allow you to discuss any crucial company information, work details, and employee reviews. It also allows your workers to inform you of their feedback. You can schedule these meetings weekly, biweekly, monthly, or however often you feel is necessary. Ultimately, it’s your role to create a welcoming work environment where your teammates can comfortably reach out for help, advice, reasoning, or solutions with their questions, comments, or concerns, whether it’s in-person or remotely.

Have Casual Conversations Too

Use the remote work opportunity for stronger bonds between you and your team. You’re going to have many employees each with their own hobbies and interests. While work should be the number one priority in any given workday, there’s nothing wrong with discussing other interests too. Whether it’s sports, crafts, cooking, reading, fitness, automobiles, gardening, pets, etc., the conversation possibilities are endless. Of course, any casual conversation requires both members on board, so don’t feel hurt if the other person is not comfortable with that. No one should be forced to talk about things they’re uncomfortable with. However, if casual conversations do occur, they naturally stimulate teamwork and a communal bond between coworkers. You might see stronger performances from each worker you talk with and their morale might increase too. At the end of the day, a happy team ensures a job well done.

With any remote work, it’s important to have the right equipment on hand. That’s why you should check us out at Rework LLC. Our used office equipment in Chicago is the perfect accompaniment for you. You’ll feel like you’re at the office even when you’re not, which will improve your work tremendously. The stability and versatility of our office equipment ensures quality work for you wherever you are. Contact us today with any questions and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Infographic: How to Communicate With Your Remote Workers