How do I get my remote teams to communicate effectively?

As the number of coronavirus cases across the country surged, more and more companies began to close their brick-and-mortar offices and send their workers to work from home. For many, the transition to remote work came quickly with little time to prepare.

Working with a remote team is fundamentally different from working with an in-person team, and thus comes with new and unique challenges. Without the ability to hold meetings in a board room, brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard, or even catch up in the break room, communication can become exceedingly more difficult. At Adaptive, we understand this challenge so we have compiled a list of some of the ways that you can help your remote teams communicate more effectively.

  1. Set clear deadlines and expectations – Setting clear deadlines and expectations gives your remote teams the framework they need to manage their time effectively. Having unclear expectations when managing a virtual team can only cause confusion and misunderstanding. Adopting a systematized way to make expectations clear and visible for everyone ensures that everyone on the team stays on track of their individual tasks and remains productive.
  2. Hold regular check-ins to discuss progress – When managing a remote team, no skill is more important than effective communication. As a manager or team leader, it is your responsibility to always know what your team members are working on and how they are doing. Check-ins can take the form of a phone call, a Zoom meeting, or sometimes just an email. As a manager, the key is to go into the check-in with a clear idea of what kind of progress your team member has or has not been making. Check-ins are also a great opportunity for your team members to express their questions or concerns.
  3. Create a system for accountability – Accountability can be difficult to establish in a physical workplace, let alone a virtual workplace. The most effective way to establish accountability with a remote team is by adopting a system for logging progress that is visible to everyone on the team. This step combined with setting clear deadlines and expectations will help you to always be in the know about what’s getting done and who’s doing it. Alternately, it will also give you the ability to see with a quick glance what isn’t getting done and who isn’t doing it!
  4. Celebrate successes – For those employees that have never worked from home before, working remotely can be very unmotivating. If you’ve noticed a dip in morale amongst your team, it is likely because they feel disconnected from their coworkers or like their work is going unacknowledged. These feelings of isolation can be mediated if the whole team, and especially managers, make an effort to recognize each other’s successes. Even a little shout out that someone is doing a good job can go a long way for morale!