84% of organizations today have a remote workforce. There can be huge benefits to both employers and employees; talent pool expansion, employer cost savings, increase productivity and improvements in employee satisfaction are just a few.
However, working remotely does have its challenges. Communication and collaboration can be difficult. Taking advantage of technology and setting up some simple guidelines can help minimize these.
- Create an intranet - Ineffective access to information costs organizations $14,000 per employee in lost productivity every year. An intranet is a valuable resource for employees to collect information and understand processes throughout their workday. This is particularly important for varying time zones as team members may not always be available.
- Prompt a virtual team room - This is a place for employees to talk, share pictures or post questions that are not work-related. It creates a social environment and maintains employee relationships, which can be difficult when not interacting face to face daily.
- Use webcams - 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact). At Inventive we use Redbooth’s HD meeting platform Zoom to hold meetings. It allows face to face interaction and screen sharing.
- Hold (frequent) in-person meetings - Once a month, at the end of each quarter or each year depending on the size of your company, meet with your employees. Use this time to network in person, discuss any outstanding work issues, and get to know one another a little better.
- Provide chat platforms - Redbooth is a great project management tool that provides our team online chat options. Team members can review tasks, prioritize tasks, create projects, send comments and chat with one another. Other chat platforms are Yammer and Slack. Employees are more likely to communicate with one another using a chat feature; it's quick, it won't clutter email and you can see who is on or offline in most cases.
- Be clear and consistent - Create a system for assigning tasks. Be systematic, clear on project ownership and provide as much detail as possible.
- Hold fixed meetings - Having a remote office means flexible schedules, especially with time differences. If a manager or coworker is knowingly available at a consistent time there is no opportunity for missed communication.
There are plenty of ways communication can go awry with a remote workforce. The images below show part of our Employee Communication Program that we used to implement communication channels across businesses that would help reach every employee and facilitate major organizational changes.