How To Improve Communication In Virtual Teams

How To Improve Communication In Virtual Teams?

Gone are the days when remote working was a distant dream. The pandemic made businesses of all scales around the world adopt remote working. Today, we are well into the pandemic stage, both- the benefits and limitations of remote working are clearer. But all in all, we can say that remote work is here to stay and is becoming a new normal across industry verticals. With that comes the question of efficiently managing and communicating with the remote teams!

Let’s move ahead and understand five potential ways to boost communication in your remote teams, keeping stakeholders on the same page while ensuring business success.

1.Define Tasks & Identify Boundaries:

Gone are the days when team meetings were conducted in-person by the manager or SCRUM master and keeping every stakeholder on the same page was easy. Today, we are living in a time of great workplace transformation where remote working is not only becoming popular, but thousands of organizations around the world are embracing it as the new paradigm of working. With that, your roles and responsibilities at work might get blurry!

Roles change over time and often evolve into something different from the initial job. This change is more relevant for the remote working scenario. Well, companies of all scales can increase internal control, improvise process management & boost operational performance just by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities. Further, employees must also be made aware of how remote working can shape their career progression. It is only then organizations can mitigate employees’ concerns related to their future with the organization.

2.Pick The Right Technology:

When it comes to remote working and virtual teams, there is no denying that effective communication plays an imperative role. If you’re still relying on emails for work-related communication, you’re isolating the employees. With remote working, companies must consider investing in collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Google Suite & Slack.

These SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms help you keep everybody in the loop. Not only can people get their hands on easy access to their peers, but they can also feel a sense of connectivity and tear down their isolation. 

Managers can consider creating work & fun channels with their teams to engage employees and bring them closer to the company’s culture. Further, supervisors may consider boosting engagement in online meetings with the help of a PowerPoint background and make their presentations interactive. There is no denying that email is the most important form of formal communication, but intuitive & easy-to-use connectivity tools can help the company bridge the communication gap.

3.Make Your Meetings Interesting:

One of the biggest concerns related to remote working is virtual meeting fatigue. According to a study, Zoom Fatigue is becoming the top concern among hybrid workers where over 50% of the workforce feel overwhelmed with non-exhaustive meetings.

The focus should be on boosting engagement between the speaker and audience while creating an immersive meeting experience to enhance communication across virtual teams.

You may consider leveraging ready-to-use, compelling PowerPoint presentation templates. The templates are created by design connoisseurs and help you present information effectively while fully engaging the viewer. Since editing the templates is a piece of cake, you can implement company branding and establish a connection between the brand and the audience. Further, you may also include engagement activity add-ons such as polls & quizzes to interact with the audience throughout the presentation.

4.Encourage Informal Communication:

A recent study conducted by Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) has found that employees have started missing the spontaneous walks to the coworker’s desk & social gatherings at work. There is no denying that the pandemic has provided employees the flexibility to work from anywhere. However, it has also taken a toll on employees’ informal work communication, peer engagement, and satisfaction.

In addition to this, the report also highlights that employees’ physical & mental health has suffered as a result of the pandemic. Hence, directly contributing to deteriorating self-confidence, self-worth, and increased stress. Introducing informal communication through weekly on-call coffee chats or occasional cultural activities can go a long way for companies. The goal is to provide a virtual water cooler space where employees can drop by to take a breather and connect with their peers like before.

For any organization whether it’s a startup or a large enterprise, the HR department must pay heed to informal communication and recognize it as essential as its formal counterpart. You may consider conducting a company-wide survey and asking employees what kind of activities appeal the most to them. Hence, companies can create a holistic & digital workspace where people feel part of the family.

5.Establish Feedback Channels:

One of the most important yet overlooked components of a successful remote working setting is regular feedback. It’s easy to provide feedback to employees for their work or stop by their desks to see how they are progressing when you’re in a traditional office. But, when you’re working with remote teams, and that too split across multiple time zones, regularly connecting with your peers and gathering/delivering feedback is imperative.

As mentioned in earlier points, with the advent of digital tools, it has become easier to keep lines of communication activities across teams. Managers can take regular updates, provide feedback to their team members and ensure that employees feel heard and connected. Everybody should be in the same loop as well. If your employees don’t know what other teammates are up to, it might jeopardize their accountability towards the collective team deliverables.

To Recapitulate:

What draws a line between a well-managed, engaged remote team & a dysfunctional group is effective team communication. There is no one-size-fits-all communication methodology while working remotely. Every business is different. Hence, the communication strategy should be tweaked from time to time with regular feedback.

If done right, efficient remote working can increase your organization’s productivity manifolds in the long run. Not just that, companies can future-proof their interests by offering flexibility, reducing turnaround rate, and hence, retaining the top talent.

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