Good communication is a staple with any team within a work setting, it help when implementing key workflow improvements, it creates a team dynamic and work environment. When implementing changes to the workflow, team members will undoubtedly have questions and feedback. When questions and feedback arise, its good to have a good communication system in place so team members are able to find the answers they need without overwhelming their managers with questions. What we have found is that the process of answering questions can often been tasking for the manager, so when we are making changes or hiring a new employee we give them guidelines for how to best communicate their questions or feedback. This way employees always know the best way to contact their manager, and are able to be efficient with their questions.
Depending on the business and industry the needs for communication will differ, so it's important to select a type of communication that works best for your situation.
Email –Is great for quick interactions and most platforms can be replaced with a project management system.
Chat programs – Such as Skype or Google Hangouts can be used for instant communication between team members. This type of communication is also great for creating a team environment for remote companies.
Phone calls or video chat – Certain communication between team members should always be handled over the phone. Conversations dealing with any kind of emotional situation such as performance problems for example should be done via phone or video communication. Video in this situations would allow visual cues giving the manager a better sense of what's really happening with its team.
Creating a short video – It’s very easy to create a video of yourself on YouTube using your webcam, or using a screen capture tool such as Jing. This is a great way to implement training remotely or to answer frequently asked questions for new hires.
Have a Book of Questions- It is important for employee reflection, maybe they answer their own question the next day. But, this can also serve as an employee training manual.
Create a Knowledge Base on a shared site- You may be making changes to policies and not even realize it. Putting the Q&A on a shared site can not only give you access to revisit, but current and new employees to review
Shared site- Google Drive or share-point through Microsoft, allow team members to be able to share and collaborate on projects without having to be in the same office. Many project management systems have the capability to share documents, it's important to find a system that works for your business. For example if you find you have a particular document that needs to be worked on by multiple team members than Google Drive may be your best option.
Finding the right communication style is very similar to finding an employee that will be a good fit for the company. It may take some time, you might have to try out a few styles and tools before the right ones for the your company are found.
We hope that you find some great tools from this post, and will let us know about how you deal with communication over in our forums.
For more great tips and tools are managing a team remotely check out this great blog post.