How you noticed the difference between speaking to someone in person versus on the phone? When you talk with someone face to face, you have the added benefit of using body language to get your meaning across clearly. However, when you communicate the same point via call or email, the possibility of misunderstanding may increase manifold.
It becomes a potential challenge in today’s business scenario, where virtual teams are the norm, especially for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Even larger organizations may opt for virtual assistants when they have short-term projects or need to offload some tasks quickly. Virtual teams help overcome the barrier of location and time, providing top-notch services across the globe.
A common challenge that small businesses face when they first begin to work with such virtual employees is maintaining regular, effective communication. That’s why we’ve put together the following tips, which should help you communicate with your remote employees easily and more efficiently.
Timely response and support
Unlike traditional teams, members of a virtual team don’t see each other every day and perhaps don’t interact often. Encourage your team members to respond to requests quickly; let them know how soon they are expected to reply to an email, IM or call.
Also make sure that they share feedback regularly, raise flags in case of issues, and provide support promptly, whenever necessary. You can schedule a bi-weekly or even daily huddle session when the whole team gets together over a call to discuss their work status or share inputs.
Use of technology
Every year, technology keeps moving forward by leaps and bounds. There are several tools that facilitate better collaboration with a virtual team. For example, using Skype or other video conferencing tool, you can conduct face-to-face meetings effortlessly.
Modern communication software also helps remote employees chat with each other, share screens or desktops, send and receive files, keep track of tasks, report bugs, and issues, etc. The type of tool you choose will depend on the level and complexity of your communication goals.
Some of the tools you may consider for virtual teamwork include:
- Google Drive/Dropbox for document storage and sharing
- Trello for organizing tasks and managing remote projects
- JIRA for tracking extensive IT projects with numerous, detailed tasks
- GoToMeeting for online meetings, video conferences, and desktop sharing
- Slack for instant messaging and collaboration
Effectiveness in management
In a traditional office setting, managers often measure their team’s work and progress minutely. However, with virtual teams, micromanagement can be counterproductive. Once you pick the professional, qualified, experienced team members you need for your task/project; you let them do their job with minimal intervention. Use deadlines and accuracy benchmarks to figure out if they are the right fit for the next task or project you plan to outsource.
When you and your employees don’t work out of the same office, your communication skills need to improve 10 times to ensure tasks are completed smoothly, accurately, and on time. Effective communication will help you set clear expectations, build trust, and create an enjoyable work environment for your virtual team.
Looking for remote employees with good communication skills? Get in touch to hire virtual assistants for web and graphic design, filmmaking, digital marketing, market research, and content writing.