A flexible work schedule definitely has benefits. You won’t have to miss the school play; you can avoid rush-hour traffic; and you can work in your pajamas when you wake up with a cold. It sounds like the perfect set up.
If you’re not careful, communication can take a big hit when working remotely. Today’s technology allows for instant communication, but that doesn’t mean it’s always effective. Yes, you can assign and follow up on tasks entirely through email and text, but it’s much harder to create passion, engagement, and validation without a personal conversation. Remote workers (and their managers) often neglect developing that personal connection.
Personal and meaningful communication is vital to success. Without a personal exchange of ideas, innovation and creativity halt. Managers must personally inspire their remote workers to push the limits to answer questions and solve problems.
Communication technology isn’t one size fits all. Consider which medium will work best for each of your conversations.
— Email is the perfect tool for a simple check-in conversation, or when you’re exchanging a large amount of information.
— Use texting or chat for quick updates or for simple questions with a simple response.
— Phone calls are great when the information is simple and a video would be distracting or prohibitive.
— While video isn’t necessary for every conversation, it’s the best way to simulate an in-person experience. Use it when emotions or fine nuances may come in to play.
— In-person communication is the best way to build those meaningful connections. If it’s possible, schedule in-person meetings at regular intervals. Depending on your work, that may be once a week or only once a year.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference – that they are a part of something more than themselves. Remote work can help employees achieve work-life balance, but motivation, growth, and success come from personal interactions and dialogue. It requires some extra effort to personally connect when working remotely but meaningful communication will inspire you and your team to bring out the best in each other.
Learn more about coaching remote workers in this infographic.