Is your business considering moving to virtual offices? Then you need to be well-versed in virtual team communication tools and practices that will maintain productivity and efficiency.
Tips for Virtual Team Communication
When businesses allow for remote working, there’s always a certain level of nervousness attached to it. How will managers communicate with remote employees? How will different teams or offices communicate with each other? How do we track progress and productivity? Here are 10 proven tips to ease virtual team communication to ensure productivity.
1. Make Remote Working a Reality
In this day and age, a business that absolutely does not consider work-from-home as an option may run the risk of losing good employees. The most popular reason why business managers don’t want to consider remote working is because it’s hard to keep an eye on employees and maintain accountability. However, with the right work from home setup, you can establish and maintain communications while tracking the progress of remote teams.
When working remotely, many issues may pop up such as:
- Lack of collaboration
- Inability to contact employees
- Urgent problem-solving needs, and so on
However, the right tools and platforms can help resolve these issues and create a more cohesive virtual office. Here are some of the tools available right now that can assist your team in virtual environments.
2. Invest in Reliable Technologies and Platforms
When working virtually and in different locations, what are the best ways to keep in touch and track your employees’ performance? The most popular answer: project management and cloud phone systems.
Project management systems can help track progress and milestones. On these platforms, teams can work together on projects and share them through the internet. As a manager, you can have access to your teams’ tasks and projects, and keep yourself up to date.
Get a business phone system that enables voice and video communication over the internet. Your entire team can make calls from their computers. This helps reduce costs and maintain connectivity. Communicate with employees as and when needed. Additionally, you can have calls routed to specific employees to ensure everyone is doing their job and no employee is sitting idle.
3. Choose the Right Virtual Team Communication Tools
Similar to the above point, depending on your business’ functions and needs, you will require appropriate virtual team communication tools. These include:
- One platform for all communications (phone, email, chat, SMS, etc.)
- Call forwarding and call transfer
- Call recording software to record business calls
- Audio and video conferencing
- Project management systems
- File storage and collaboration tools, and more
Find applications and software that work best for your teams. This may require some trial and error but getting the right tools can positively impact collaboration and productivity, even when working remotely.
4. Offer Different Mediums for Easy Communication
Don’t just stick to email or phone conversations for quick support. You may consider having a chat or SMS tool that can be accessed via their smartphone. You can also develop a system where employees who have queries or encounter issues may submit trouble tickets or “problem-forms” and receive the right solution via email. The trick is to offer different ways to stay connected.
5. Consider Time Zone Differences
Remote teams are not always located in the same city or country. And for this reason, all of your employees need to be aware of the different time zones involved. You may consider creating an online spreadsheet detailing contact and time zone information. This ensures no calls and meetings are conducted at inappropriate times. A time zone calculator may prove useful so users don’t have to spend time calculating the exact hour.
6. Create Guides, Knowledge Bases, and More
Another important aspect of virtual team communication is the ability to quickly access important or necessary information. One way to do so is by creating reliable communication channels (as mentioned above). However, another effective method is to create support guides and knowledge bases that can be accessed by relevant people. The point is to provide easy access to information so employees can do their jobs effectively. These guides can be stored on Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, or on your project management system’s storage feature.
7. Monitor Metrics and KPIs
Next, monitor important and relevant KPIs instead of constantly micromanaging and monitoring your employees. Focus on the results of their performance instead of how they are getting work done or how long they’ve been at their desk.
8. Make Goals and Proper Business Communication Behavior Clear
All your teams and employees need to be on the same page and know what the final goal is. The same goes for proper business communication. Define, explain, and practice. For instance, are emojis or GIFs allowed? How does voting take place? Does everyone need to respond or do only relevant people? How many times should employees check their messages or email, every 30 minutes or every hour? And so on.
9. Avoid Long and Unnecessary Video Calls
Video calls are necessary at times to get everybody on the same page to receive quick updates. However, it is easy to go off-track and end up on video calls for more time than needed. Therefore, plan to have video calls only when necessary and follow best practices. This will help in reducing the time spent on these calls and increasing productivity.
10. Check-in With Your Team Regularly
Finally, check in with your remote teams as often as possible but within reason. You may choose to do brief monthly meetings. However, it may help to check-in via email, a quick call, or chat every week to make remote employees feel valuable.
Need Help with Virtual Team Communication? Ask Us!
We offer tools that can help keep your business communication stay connected no matter where your employees or offices are located. Our virtual phone system can route calls as needed and it provides high-quality connection. To build your cloud phone system, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!