Whether you're a remote-first company like Basecamp, or you've recently switched to remote work, the issue of keeping your team engaged stays relevant.
In fact, 20% of more than 3500 surveyed remote employees stated that collaboration and communication are the biggest challenges when it comes to working remotely. Another 20% of respondents named loneliness as their reason for concern.
As you can see, keeping your remote employees engaged and involved in a company's culture, and building transparent communication must be your top priority.
We've studied the experience and best practices of renowned tech companies that manage remote teams with grace and ready to share our insights.
From the moment your employees leave the office, the following issues might occur:
A recent survey by Ernst & Young revealed that 39% of US workers feel happier with regular check-ins from their managers. With remote communication, it's the same.
Here's how you can build transparent and supportive communication even working remotely:
Remote communication requires excellent self-organization and motivation skills. To aid your employees, consider setting up communication rules:
At Basecamp, most of the communication is written. They believe it's the key to considered decision making, productivity, keeping everyone in the loop of the latest news, and avoiding miscommunications.
Basecamp isn't the only evangelist for written communication. Amazon's top management writes reports and essays instead of PowerPoint presentations. Besides, the CEO, Jeff Bezos, writes an annual letter to Amazon's stakeholders. Bezos thinks that writing essay disciplines makes people think creatively and get the essence of the message.
If you opt for written communication like emails or chats, make sure everyone knows the rules of the game. For example, Basecamp recommends long-form writing like emails, avoiding group chats in order not to distract too many recipients at a time, the brevity of message, and get rid of the "ASAP" culture.
Some teams excel in remote communication. How? They make a habit or a ritual to keep everyone engaged in the company's life and make communication transparent and effortless. Let's see a few examples of such habits.
Automation is everything when it comes to connecting teammates. One of the brightest examples is a Slack chatbot Donut that will help you gather teammates around a virtual water cooler. The chatbot randomly chooses two teammates and creates a closed channel they can schedule a call and have a casual chat.
Such remote-first companies as Buffer and Automattic use Donut to enhance employee experience and help teammates get to know each other with a bit of fun and unexpectancy.
According to recent research, around 46% of the US respondents revealed that the most successful managers are the ones that conduct frequent check-ins in the form of daily or 1:1 meetings. Checking in with your team morale is just as important as daily meetings to check work statuses. To build a supportive, trust-based working environment, consider the questions from the list below:
"How do you feel?"
"What challenges keep you from moving forward?"
"What do you think can help you do better?"
"What part of work do you enjoy the most?"
"How do you relax after work?"
Asking these questions helps you find out obstacles that prevent employees from achieving the company's goals, demonstrate that you care, and study employee's motivation.
You can also modify the form of a questionnaire to checklists, anonymous polls, or quick surveys when employees can grade their welfare on a scale from 0 to 10.
85% of employees reveal that they stay motivated when management keeps them posted on company's updates and changes. Moreover, regular internal communications help you keep everyone on the same page, share knowledge, and keep necessary information like corporate rules at hand.
Here's how you can boost internal communications within a remote team:
Recognizing employees' and company's successes brings people together and boosts the level of belonging to something important.
ShieldGeo's team decided to go further and share special personal moments of their employees. During the onboarding stage, newcomers are asked to share the dates of their achievements, milestones, or holidays they celebrate. With the help of a Zapier chatbot, people in a company figure out that David celebrates Hanukkah today and Emma doesn't mind some chewy gift for her puppy's birthday.
At Basecamp, a remote-first company, employees celebrate accomplishments with Heartbeats. Heartbeats is a report of what the team has done and achieved during the last 6 weeks written by a team leader. Since Basecamp relies on written communication 90% of the time, it's a way to keep consistency in corporate communications and get a reason to rejoice.
A successful remote team communication relies on principles of openness, regular check-ins, and cultivating a feeling of belonging and recognition. The only difference between remote and traditional team communication lies in choosing workable tools that'll help you achieve your goals. Keep up with our blog updates for even more useful content!
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