Remote Communications to Attain Effectiveness in the New World of Work
Most Human Resources experts agree the COVID-19 pandemic changed the workplace permanently. One of the most important shifts it caused is the shift of work-from-home employees. It's likely that companies will move forward with more, or all, of their employees working remotely at least part of the time.
How can companies create an infrastructure that supports work from home while not losing the advantages of being face-to-face with co-workers and managers? In addition to strong leadership, businesses need to look closely at the communication channels they will be using now and in the future.
How Companies Should Be Connecting with Remote Employees
Since the move toward working from home began, some companies have put processes in place that work well to keep the remote folks connected, while others have faltered with their efforts.
Goals for Remote Employees
Share measurable goals. Both onsite and remote employees should have a finite handle on what is expected of them and how they can achieve success. Communicating often with remote workers is especially important to help keep them on track with their goals.
Keep them engaged with their team. Most employees get satisfaction from feeling like they are part of a team. These types of connections can suffer for employees working from home. Managers must find ways for their team members to frequently brainstorm, collaborate, and connect with each other so they remain a cohesive unit.
Ensure they have access to important company information. Feeling out of the loop can hinder an even sabotage an employee's success, both in how they do their jobs and their mindset regarding the company culture. Leaders need to focus on creative ways to improve communicating relevant and timely information to remote workers in real-time, if possible.
Allow them ownership. Just because an employee works remotely doesn't mean they should fade into the background and not be heard. Their opinions and ideas need to be appreciated just like they were when they worked in the office. Managers need to continue fostering these relationships and encouraging all their team members, even remote ones, to bring their best ideas and own their projects.
It's essential for managers to understand what they need to do to make a remote workforce function well. Here's what success with work-from-home initiatives looks like:
- Drive Strong Virtual Meetings
Managers need to make it a top priority to communicate with their team productively and often. This means holding virtual one-on-one and team meetings on a regular basis. Simply talking about upcoming projects isn't enough. Team members should be encouraged to share their struggles with working from home and work with their managers to find a solution. Managers need to be empathetic and attuned to issues, as they are not seeing the employees daily.
- Execute Consistent Visual Check-In
While email is still an acceptable form of communication, it shouldn't be the only one. Meetings should be held so that all parties can see each other's expressions and body language. Visual meetings help everyone involved be more engaged in the day-to-day goals and tasks than non-visual forms of communication.
- Implement Other Helpful Tools
As companies commit to more work-from-home staff for the long haul, leaders must pinpoint weak spots and add tools to help strengthen company communication. Surprisingly, one of the best ones to use is a digital signage platform.
But, Isn't Digital Signage Solely an Onsite Tool?
The short answer is that it was once primarily a method of communication on the job site. Work from home people are not in the office where they'll be exposed to the tradition screens that display the typical content. However, digital signage has powerful advantages that are valuable in the keeping work-from home employees well- informed and engaged.
- The Mobile Advantage
Re-imagining the digital display screen is what’s happening with the work-from-home movement. Mobile device signage compliments your onsite display communications strategy by using your employees' mobile screens. After all, that's what they're looking at the most now. Whether they are at home, sitting in a doctor's office, or waiting at the train station, they have their phones with them. Being able to share content that would have normally been displayed on signage screens to a mobile device is key in directly communicating important information to the employee. This serves the dual role in keeping them up to date with the most pressing issues and keeping them engaged in the company culture.
- Digital Information Dashboards
Dashboards that can be accessed online from any device are easy to use to keep remote employees involved and included. Messaging playlists and gamification are two of many actionable ways companies can use a dashboard to ensure work from home staff are updated in real time just like onsite staff are.
- Push Notifications
Push notifications to users' desktop computers or phones to let them know of new developments and communications. Company announcements, benefit enrollment periods, product updates, and safety reminders can all be pushed through to an employee's smart device. In addition, inclusive information like birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, and new employee announcements can be showcased this way, too.
Finding ways to use technology has facilitated many new business evolutions, and remote work is no different. Getting away from the idea that digital signage is a large screen placed onsite and that any screen, a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, can be a digital signage screen is the beginning. From there, using the tools available to you to keep remote employees informed and involved is essential for the work-from-home initiative to be productive and successful. Offering your staff this option is bound to keep them happier with their jobs and help them create a better work/life balance. The company benefits with a more gracious, motivated employee who is likely to stay at the company a long time.