Communication is a fact of working life, whether you’re bonding with coworkers, trying to solve a problem, or having a traditional business meeting. There’s no way to make it as a business without coming together and sharing ideas, and any business professional needs to nurture and develop communication strategies. There are three ways for workers to connect in a business:
• Asynchronous communication: This means of communication consists of email, direct messages, and posted updates about issues that aren’t time-sensitive and can be viewed as schedules allow.
• Synchronous communication: When two or more people agree on a predetermined time and method to communicate with one another, such as live chat, video meetings or calls, they’re communicating synchronously.
• In-person communication: This happens at face-to-face events such as company retreats, workshops, conferences, or other activities where people can be in the same room.
For workers on remote teams who only connect digitally, though effective, communication can be a challenge. Solving problems, strategizing, and building relationships are easier to achieve when people are in the same place. The trick is to use all those types of communication strategically on a virtual team. Here are tips we at executivehub have learned.
Everything Needs a Purpose
Set up clear guidelines for what platforms you use and when you use them, and keep these communication channels clearly delineated. This helps your virtual office run more effectively and avoid missed connections, crossed wires, wasted time and other frustrations. Make sure you only use the tools you need. With so many tools out there, you may become too busy to reach – meaning you focus more on talking and less time on working.
Use Management Tools and Milestones
It can be hard to make a schedule when your team members work in different locations or don’t have the same working hours. A calendar or task management system helps you track when things are getting done and who’s doing them, share your schedules, post updates and use references. Use updates to keep the team on the same page in terms of checking on progress and updating to-do lists.
Have Informal Channels
It’s important to establish rapport with your coworkers, which is best done in more informal environments. Physical offices have lunch hours, cubicles next to one another, and a water cooler or vending machine to chat around; virtual offices don’t have such features. Make a point of having an online place where you can connect for non-work reasons, not only to create a sense of community but to keep distractions out of more official channels.
Make Yourself Clear
Virtual offices heavily rely on written communication. Unfortunately, because there are very few verbal or visual cues, it’s very easy to misunderstand or misinterpret emails. Avoid this by reviewing each message before you send it. It’s better to give too much information and be clear, than not give enough and come off as angry when you’re not. If it’s appropriate in your business, consider using emojis or a similar means of indicating tone.
Celebrate When You Need To
It may be hard to feel recognized in a virtual office. There’s little connection between your coworkers, and it might feel like you don’t get acknowledged for your achievements. Make sure good work done at the individual or group level gets acknowledged, even if it’s just a quick email. A little praise can go a long way toward making your team energized and effective.
Need a Place to Talk?
If you’re looking for a new home for your physical or virtual office in the Scottsdale area, get in touch with executivehub. We rent executive suites for your business, and also provide the digital infrastructure and support you need to maintain an effective virtual office. Our leasing agreements are flexible to give you what you and your team need without renting things you don’t need. For more information on how we can help you, contact us online or call 480.945.8500.