Have you ever considered hiring remote employees for your company? Or is the notion of NOT having effective communication with them prevents you from doing so?
I once have that fear too. When I first started building a company made up entirely of a remote team, I have had butterflies in my stomach. I wondered if that would actually work.
I have had several questions in my mind. How would I know if they would do their job responsibilities? How can I reach them? How can I communicate with them?
I’m most especially concerned about the communication part. Because without communication, I wouldn’t know how things are going. Nevertheless, I was able to pull it through.
Today, I have companies with a mix of an in-house team and a remote team. And having employees from different parts of the world is such a rich experience, and communicating with remote teams for me has not been a hindrance at all.
So if you are looking for ways on how to communicate with remote employees, here are my best tips:
Download this checklist to find out if you are doing everything you can to make communication with your remote employees a lot easier.
Communicate with them your expectations. Set KPIs.
Be clear with your remote workers what you expect of them, things they need to do, and their daily deliverables. This would help you put your mind at ease that your remote employees are actually doing their job.
Having key performance indicators or KPIs set will also help boost your employees’ work performance. If you never define them, your employees, whether remote or not, will be at loss, not knowing what they really need to do and deliver.
To help you with setting your remote employees’ KPIs, listen to this podcast: Setting KPIs for Maximum Performance and download its 4-Step KPI Framework.
Talk with them daily but your topic of conversation may not always be about work.
Talking with your remote employees daily will help make them feel that they are really a part of your company. Just because you don’t see them, you have to ignore them.
Your small talks or chats with them doesn’t always have to be about work. That would be pretty annoying. Remember how you casually talk to your in-house team? Talking about general stuff and even making jokes? You could communicate like that too with your remote team. But how?
Simple. Say hi to them. Ask them what’s up. Share with them an inspirational quote. Talk about their likes. Relevant or interesting news of the day. A funny photo of your in-house team. And so much more.
Daily talks with your remote employees will help you build rapport them, make you closer with them. You could chat with your remote employees individually or you may set a group chat.
But remember, just spend a few minutes on the small talks so as not to affect your and your employees’ productivity.
Clarify their working schedules.
In one of my companies, I require all of my remote employees to work during the time as the in-house team would work, so that we have a universal time of working.
But it’s also okay if you allow your remote employees to work at different schedules. Letting your remote employees work at their preferred time allows them to boost their productivity. So if they are productive, your company will benefit from it too.
Don’t forget to list each of your remote worker’s work schedules so that you will know when to have a chat with them or call them.
Use communication apps or tools for convenience.
There are a bunch of communication apps or tools out there that you can use to effectively to communicate with your remote team. You don’t need to spend much on tools especially if you are quite tight on the budget.
You can always use the ever-useful Skype for communication. Skype allows you to do group chats, voice calls, video calls and attach files (if you need). Or if you don’t prefer Skype, you can use Slack. It has also the same features as Skype. There’s Google Hangouts too.
Be mindful of your “tone” when communicating.
It is rather hard to “read” if you are angry, upset, sad or happy when you are just plainly chatting, typing the words onto the screen. So as not to be misunderstood, use the power of emojis.
Take a look at this:
For example, you are greeting your remote employee because it’s his birthday. First one without emojis seemed like you are only “forced” greeting them. But on the second one with emojis, it feels like you are really happy and excited for them.
Nevertheless, ensure that you use emojis moderately. Use them only for informal talks, or when needed.
Aside from using emojis, you could clearly indicate your “tone” through the appropriate use of punctuation marks.
- Exclamation point (!) – I often use this when I’m excited or happy.
- Question mark (?) – When in doubt or confirming something.
- Ellipsis (…) – When I’m thinking.
- “Quotation marks” – When I’m emphasising something.
- Period (.) – Lots of periods when talking about business, or a no laughing matter.
Communicating with your remote employees might be a challenge. But if you have plan and set everything what’s needed in order to reach them, this wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Do you have a company with a remote team? What are your ways on how to communicate with remote employees? What else do you want to add? Comment below and download our checklist.