How to Boost Company Communication When Working from Home?
If you didn’t get the memo, well, here it is; Strong communication skills are vital if one is to succeed as a remote employee. When we use the term “remote,” we are not referring to the device used to control electronic devices and systems. We are simply talking about the concept of working from home or anywhere that is not an office.
Ensuring proper communication is very important, and we all must admit that it can be challenging at times if the employees are not working together under the same roof. This may not necessarily be the fault of the employees or their inability to interact well.
Some other factors that may affect proper communication might just be poor internet connections, lack of proper experience with different online platforms, and environmental factors affecting the employee, and even psychological factors that may affect the employee as they are not working in the same environment as their boss. In fact, a variety of challenges might even occur outside the aforementioned ones.
There is also the problem of the employees feeling disconnected or left out when they are not communicating correctly, making them feel unsure of their roles. Enough of the bad news, though; let us uplift our spirits because the good news is these problems can be effectively tackled by applying several tips.
These tips do not necessarily need you to be a rocket engineer before understanding and applying them. Because we are still recovering from the most recent pandemic and subsequent lockdown, many people have begun to appreciate the advantages of working from home and have subconsciously learned some of these tips.
So if you are having issues communicating with other employees of your company because you are working from home, then you have stumbled on the right article. All you have to do is grab a box of popcorns and a drink, sit back, relax, and read through. Things are about to go uphill from here on out. Diving in, we first need to understand the idea of company communication.
- What is Company Communication?
- What are the Tips to Improve Remote Communication?
- Take Away
What is Company Communication?
In plain terms, company communication, which is sometimes referred to as corporate communication, describes the way and manner in which organizations and businesses communicate with audiences. The audience may be customers, potential clients, the media, the general public, government agencies, third-party regulators, and most importantly, employees.
In this write-up, our primary focus would be on the interaction between employees, as they work and communicate with each other remotely. This type of communication can take different forms, which all depend on the audience being addressed.
However, generally, a company’s communication strategy usually consists of written words, spoken words, non-spoken communication, and in some cases, video and audio conferencing. The team at G12 has the experience of helping to develop the ideal communication solutions for companies for better productivity.
What are the Tips to Improve Remote Communication?
If you are an employee looking to change your written and verbal interaction with your colleagues, below are a few tips that can help you do so with guaranteed success in no particular order;
Fix Your Technology Problem
This might just be the most important thing an employee working from home has to work on; the required technology to work remotely. You need to invest in those tools and equipment that can help you communicate efficiently and seamlessly, such as shared cloud storage and services, online documents, video chat apps, instant messaging, organizational tools, etc.
Once you get these tools and test them, you can always decide which is suitable for what tasks, and it can help you work together as a team. For instance, platforms for instant messaging like Slack can be used for short messages. Emails can be used for longer messages or messages that require multiple attachments; video calls can be used for larger meetings or even face-to-face interactions.
If you are not familiar with the tools used for communication, you may need to familiarize yourself with them. Also, don’t expect everyone to be as aware of the devices as you, and if you can, provide any resources and training to help them. This link https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/05/16/10-effective-ways-to-increase-productivity-using-technology/?sh=38e852ec680f has suggestions on how to make use of technology in the workplace better.
Build and Maintain a Flexible Schedule
As an employee working remotely, you need to realize one harsh truth; not everybody can work with you at the same time. However, having a regular schedule can help one avoid problems that come with time variations.
One way to tackle urgent issues is whenever you are sure that your colleagues are available and understand that they may be indisposed when you don’t get a response from them in those hours.
Scheduling in this format is helpful for those workers that have flexible responsibilities. Flexibility can maintain or even uplift employee morale as long as there are set times that these employees will be available.
Know and Understand People’s Preferences
Naturally, one size does not always fit all in different aspects of life; this one is no different. People would prefer various forms of communication. So if you are going to work effectively as a team, determine the preferences of different employees and work according to that.
Studies have shown that some employees are not so comfortable with video calls because of the lack of body language and the stress that comes with it; others have challenges interpreting the tone in email messages and may prefer an audio call and things like that. So fostering good communication means understanding and appreciating their preferences that way.
Always Assume the Best
One major challenge most remote workers face is the lack of physical interaction with other workers. Even though remote communication still entails building a working relationship with them no matter how far away they are from you, when most of these communication methods are asynchronous or written, one might be tempted or misled to over-interpret or read into what is not there.
Sarcasm and light-hearted tones may not always come across so well in some types of messages. So you should always assume the best intentions from the sender until proven otherwise.
If you are in any form of doubt, take all the time you need to confirm the sender’s intentions. This also goes both ways; try to have this in mind when you send messages. Emoji’s are easy ways to pass your sense of humor or blow off some steam.
Check-In on Your Colleagues
No matter how busy you may be, always find some time to check up on your colleagues. If you are a member of a team or even the team lead, you might want to schedule one-on-one meetings to know how they are faring. The general misconception is that one has to be a team leader to be able to maintain communication.
This should not be the case. They may be going through some challenges that may or may not be related to work. The one-on-one interactions may be an excellent time to pour out their hearts, especially when working on projects together.
Your communication with them does not have to be about work all the time. Non-work related topics can create close bonds that make other employees feel valued for their work input. Have you ever heard of virtual office gossip? Yes, it can help prevent friction and reduce accidental conflicts.
Before the start of a meeting, one can start by initiating a friendly chat or catch-up. Good collaboration is an excellent recipe for success in every industry or organization.
Work with the Three C’s
This is a concept that every remote worker needs to be familiar with. The three C’s stand for Clear, Consistent, and Concise. As long as you work with these three C’s, things hardly go wrong.
Maintaining clear communication should be simple as long as you stick to the facts. It may also involve knowing the best type of medium to pass specific messages.
On the other hand, consistency is the idea of knowing when and how to communicate and the types of messages you may need to provide.
Finally, concise communication means keeping it as brief as possible. You will not want to bore your co-workers with other irrelevant emails when you can skip that.
There are a few things one needs to consider to be able to work perfectly with the concept of the three C’s. They are;
- Discuss what you are recommending.
- Analyze what you need.
- Provide the right amount and type of context.
- Create links to other important information that may be related to the subject matter.
Create a Digital Water Cooler
Work can be very intense at times. When this happens, emotions may begin to run high, and it will not be suitable for success and productivity. So it is wise to have some form of system for people to blow off some steam. This idea led to the concept of a “Digital Water Cooler.” As a team, you need to have an online social platform for interaction between team members.
It can always substitute for the absence of physical interaction. Maintaining this type of communication is very important, especially during trying times.
People need to feel loved, happy, and connected, even if they are not physically together. It will help eliminate those feelings of loneliness and neglect, boost team productivity, and increase work confidence.
Communicating and discussing small work, even in a digital water cooler, may give more ideas to maximize productivity since nobody is under any form of pressure.
Thankfully, most companies and industries are beginning to grasp and appreciate the benefits and advantages of digital water coolers. After all, everyone wants to utilize every means to maximize productivity.
Develop your General Communication Skills
In some companies, there are preferred methods or means of communication. In others, people are allowed to use different means that suit them.
Whichever industry you work for; one thing is more important than every other thing: developing those all-round communication skills. Most times, the most popular means of communication is through writing. This may come in the form of letters, emails, and short messages, so you might want to improve your writing skills.
Writing is preferred because there is ample time to think about your ideas before putting them on paper carefully. You can organize your thoughts, edit communications, and formulate the right ideas to pass across. You can also set the tone on those written messages, taking time to control any form of aggression, vagueness, or carefree attitude.
If it has to be a video meeting, one should be mindful of appearance. The fact that you are working from home does not mean you have to show up for a video conferencing meeting in your pajamas. Also, your body language must be spot-on, or you might be passing the wrong message, and you know what that means, especially if your superiors are attending the meeting. Need to communicate better at the workplace? This page here has valuable tips on improving workplace communication.
Become More Proactive
No matter your preferred or the standard mode of communication, you need to be proactive as a remote worker. It may be even something as trivial as giving your boss and employees regular updates on a project or work you are doing.
It might even be the ability to extinguish small flames before they turn into large fires. A straightforward way may be communicating with the different members of the team before a team meeting, resolving any pending issues before meeting together, and other little things like that.
Encourage inclusion and transparency, agree on what you need to discuss with them individually before going into the meeting, and try to meet offline once in a while.
Bumping into them around work environments has a different feel to it. Since that cannot happen when you work remotely, you can always create some time to meet up with them. There will always be some catching up to do. Be the one to break the silence, and your co-workers will love you for it.
We believe this has been one hell of a ride. Start practicing some or all of these tips, and with time, you will see how effective you have become with communication. The world is going digital, and fewer companies require a physical presence. So get better with remote communication. What else can we say? You never know what life has in store for you.