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Remote and Hybrid Work Requires Effective Communications



Thorough and consistent communication is always important in the workplace, but it’s even more important when employees are working remotely. Yet communicating remotely is often easier said than done and can end in misunderstandings and confusion.


So why do remote workers require unique communication skills? Often with remote communications, tone and body language are left open to interpretation. That’s why managers of remote teams need to find more effective ways to communicate. Both managers and employees play a role in creating a balanced environment for communications.


Read on for some useful tips and tools for better hybrid and remote work communications. OR click to download the PDF below


TRY SWITCHING REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS WITH VIDEO CALLS

Video is much better for establishing rapport and creating empathy. Managers need to create regular check-ins and team-building routines to give employees an opportunity to interact and collaborate, just like they would do if everyone worked in the same place.


DON’T LEAVE YOUR MESSAGES OPEN TO INTERPRETATION

Sometimes in an effort to be efficient, we use fewer words to communicate what we’re trying to say. But sometimes that brevity keeps the rest of your team guessing as to what you mean, and often that results in misinterpreted messages. Don’t assume your coworkers know how to read between the lines. Be careful to be extra clear in every medium you use. Remember, you can never be too clear.


ESTABLISH A REMOTE WORK POLICY AND DEFINE THE REQUIRED PROCEDURES UP-FRONT


The best remote work policies establish core days, or the flexibility of days on-site versus at home. Decide up front which model fits your organizational needs.


Do you need everyone at the worksite on the same days or based on departmental needs? Think about the resources at the office. Are there enough meeting rooms or areas for all teams to attend, if all attend on the same days?Determine core hours during which everyone must be present, regardless of their location.


Given that many companies may have flextime, or allow arrival and departure during two-hour windows, identify the core hours. As an example, for an organization that allows employees to arrive between 8 to 10 a.m. and to leave from 5 to 7 p.m., the core hours could be from 10 am to 4 pm while allowing for a one-hour lunch.


Your organization needs to identify how employees will be contacted during core hours. Do you prefer

text, email, phone calls, or a combination of all three? Be sure your company's policy on teleworking makes your expectations clear. Often the policy requires an employee to agree to all the conditions (including days in office and which days are remote) and then sign off on it.


Once a schedule is established, be sure to keep all calendars updated so everyone knows who's working where and what hours they're working. If your office is Microsoft-or Google-based, there are some efficient tools for managing schedules and communicating employees' availability.


ENSURE YOU ARE COMMUNICATING FACE-TO-FACE ON A REGULAR BASIS

As a manager in a hybrid or remote environment, it is optimal to establish a routine for both team and one-on-one meetings, whether they're weekly or biweekly. These meetings can be virtual or in-person. Thirty minutes or less is optimal for most meetings.


ASYNCHRONOUS AND SYNCHRONOUS COMMUNICATION

Synchronous communications are planned interactions, whereas asynchronous communication happens on your own time and doesn't need scheduling. Synchronous days are a great opportunity to enhance connections to others in the organization. Make a point to meet people company-wide and not only in your own department. On asynchronous days, employees should be sure to overcommunicate their availability. What makes asynchronous work successful is a strong team culture that values flexibility and collaboration.


CURATE YOUR PROFESSIONAL IMAGE AND ENSURE YOU ARE FOCUSED WHILE WORKING AT HOME

During work hours, you should take steps to ensure you are focused on work and aren’t distracted by household duties or others in the home. During online calls and meetings, make sure background noise and interruptions do not impair your professional image. Remote work programs can fall apart in the absence of effective communications. Make sure your company or organization develops a solid protocol and communicates it with staff.



Remote and Hybrid Work Requires Effective Communications
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