Working remotely has proven to have lots of benefits for employees. From flexible hours to no restriction on location, it’s easy to see why the ability to work remotely is appreciated by most people. However, this comes with its own unique set of challenges as well, such as communication.
When making the shift to a virtual office, many businesses underestimate the impact that the quality of communication really has on a team. Without a proper strategy for how to manage this aspect of remote work, colleagues can fall apart and struggle to complete projects on time. In order to communicate effectively as a distributed team, look out for these common pitfalls.
1. Too Many Meetings
When working remotely, audio or video calls seem like the easiest way to discuss ideas or projects. With that said, there is such a thing as too many meetings. If your team is having to jump from call to call with few breaks in between, that leaves little time for work to actually get done. Not only that, people will get burnt out and engage less with the group, which delays communication on updates or tasks that need to be completed.
To combat this, try to slow down and reevaluate what each meeting is for. Are you chatting for a quick update or minor task? If it can be said clearly and concisely in an email, or better yet in a chat, then it doesn’t need to be a meeting. Limiting your virtual face-to-face interactions will help with video fatigue, and keep team members more engaged.
2. No Meeting Structure
Speaking of meetings, having no meeting structure is another factor that results in poor communication. When going into a call with little to no plan, discussions end up diverting everywhere, leaving the team talking about an entirely new project that wasn’t planned. In fact, 44% of people said that sudden or unscheduled meetings mean that they do not have enough time to focus on their work. This unorganized structure can drag out meetings longer than needed, and leave people feeling confused about what they need to be doing.
Before starting any meeting, write up a short agenda and send it out to everyone involved. By having this, the entire team can hold each other accountable for what’s to be discussed. This helps keep your calls shorter and more precise, so you can focus on the topic at hand.
3. Constantly Redoing Work
Mistakes happen, and having to redo part of a project is expected every now and then. However, if your team is finding themselves having to constantly redo the work, the problem is most likely communication. This occurs when a manager or employee hasn’t clearly defined the goals of the project. If a task is handed too loosely, that leaves room for misinterpretation.
Be sure that duties are outlined thoroughly when delegating jobs to your team, and that there’s room for on-the-go check-ins to make sure your expectations remain aligned. This will add efficiency to the workflow, and leave less room for errors and miscommunication. Managers will also have an insight into how employees interpret tasks and project descriptions. By honing in on an effective strategy, your team will be a well-oiled machine.
4. Assignments Keep Slipping
Constantly forgetting about requests from clients? If the group is consistently letting jobs slip through the cracks, that can be a sign of poor project management and communication. Without the proper tools or messaging to indicate what stage a job is at, teams can fall behind and clients can get frustrated.
To combat this, tools like Desktop.com organize your tools, assets and conversations for you. Our easy-to-use platform lets you create client and project dedicated folders in separate workspaces, organize links and documents, and place all your apps in one location. Additionally, our chat integration allows you to not only communicate with your team, but also anyone outside of your organization. This makes it easy to keep track of projects and discuss all of your duties right away.
5. Low Engagement During Conversations
When working as a remote team, it’s important to be as open as possible about schedules, conflicts and jobs. By using video calls effectively, employees can feel closer, with as much as 87% of the workforce saying they feel more connected to each other when using video. But what happens if employees aren’t engaging? If people contribute very little to your discussions, then it could be a sign of inadequate communication.
Try to engage everyone in conversation. You can ask questions about their day, what they have planned, or other talking points that help team members feel more comfortable. As long as you keep your video calls to a reasonable amount, then engagement will start to grow for your team. Various interactions will help your group bond, and get everyone to communicate better on projects.
6. Higher Turnover Rate
A higher turnover rate for your business typically means there’s ineffective communication going on. If you notice this happening, it’s important to get together with your team and discuss what is working and what isn’t.
You’ll find that their insight will be valuable to keeping employees longer, and will bridge any communication gaps that you didn’t realize before. If you apply their feedback to your strategy, you’ll notice an increase in open chats and overall performance.
Improve Communication with Desktop.com
Ready to bridge the gaps in your communication channels? With Desktop.com, you can streamline your communication both internally and with external partners. Hold video conferences with team members, message colleagues directly in the app, or even integrate with Slack to chat with people outside of your organization. Our platform also organizes all your tools in one workspace, improving your overview and ability to manage your digital work environment drastically. Get Desktop.com today!