The way we work as a team has been undergoing some major changes. More businesses work like a collection of individual cells forming a body over a great distance, whether it’s through offices at different locations or the increased reliance on remote workers. It’s a new world that offers exciting ways to save money, expand the reach of the business, and more. But you can never forget the importance of communication between a team, which can be interrupted by that distance. So, how do you keep everyone in touch?
For one, if everyone has their standards organized beforehand, it should be a lot easier to speed communications along. Not everyone has to have the same working hours, but if you can find mutual periods between the team, you can set up dedicated communication time where everyone can reasonably expect to stay in touch with everyone else. Naturally, that communication time should be set up using shared tools, such as Google Hangouts, so everyone is on the same channel. Another standard worth implementing is that of time management. In particular, giving everyone the skills to manage time effectively so they have at least one period throughout the day free to check up on emails or new sticky information uploaded to shared sources.
Keep everyone in the loop
If you can keep the conversation out of the communication from time-to-time, it will be of great benefit. Keeping everyone informed is essential but you need to know how to do it. For individual correspondence requiring live feedback, using chat clients works well enough. But for shared briefings and updates on situations in the business, email requires much less interaction from your team, meaning less time is wasted in that process. When it comes to collaborative efforts to fulfill projects, you can’t underestimate the convenience of project management software like Wrike. Everyone can get a direct look at their responsibilities in a project and how they play in relation to their co-workers. That means that they know who to contact based on different needs, often without the need of a middle-man (such as you, the boss) to help them fill in the gaps.
Set up a filing cabinet
Communication isn’t just about talking to one another. It’s all about sharing resources. To that end, your business should an online filing cabinet where all those resources can be found easily. From sticky knowledge like rules and practices to objectives briefings, press releases, admin documents and more, a place to share information is crucial. There are a few suites that can help with that, and looking at the points and counterpoints like Alfresco vs Sharepoint can help you. You can judge which one best fits the needs of the business and the size of the team, as well as how you need different access levels and so on. If everyone knows where to find available information, they’re a lot less likely to have to bother one another to retrieve it.
Keep the link strong
Cutting unnecessary communication can save a lot of time in the business. However, there are times that non-essential chatter is actually necessary. For one, people work a lot better with people they have a professional relationship with. To that end, the occasional face-to-face is important, and that doesn’t mean through a webcam. Holding a company conference, even as informal as renting out a booth in a café for a few hours, is not only strategically valuable, but it helps set up a shared company culture. Beyond that, you should make time to interface with employees on an individual basis. Leave no-one behind, making sure that their current working situation is working for them and exploring the full potential of what ideas they might provide to the business if only you asked.
Communication is vital to the business. Sharing ideas, plans, and resources keeps everyone focused on the same goal. While working relationships can be the key to a corporate culture that retains people for longer and keeps them motivated. Never stop looking at ways you can improve your long-distance business communication.