As we’ve settled into the world of remote work you may have realized how many challenges come with digital communication. No matter how hard we try to emulate face-to-face interaction with video calls and team chat apps, it’s never really the same.
That, however, doesn’t mean your employee experience should suffer.
The reality is that every person in your workforce is likely feeling confused or anxious about something. Part of cultivating a positive employee experience is establishing effective communication systems that keep your people engaged, productive, and happy at work.
The problem with no face-to-face interaction is that messages can be confused or lost when conversations can’t happen organically in the office. This means you may need to over communicate and come up with new tactics for getting information out.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain a positive employee experience when your workforce is dispersed.
Who should employees contact about specific issues?
It may not be clear who employees should reach out to when they come across certain issues. Who do they call if they get locked out of your web conference service? Who do they ask about sick leave and PTO?
Designate a point of contact for specific areas of concern to keep communication consistent and not overwhelm everyone on the team. This helps prevent the need to redirect questions over and over and keeps people focused on their priorities.
Send out a list with a point person for specific areas such as:
IT questions or difficulties
If these contacts find they are addressing the same concerns multiple times, consider sending out a general FAQ and advice memo. Alternatively, set up a forum or line of communication for your workforce to share answers to questions that may be of general interest.
HR partners, managers, and admins should be prepared to respond to and communicate with employees
Your Human Resources department should establish guidelines for sick-leave, PTO, and other common concerns. Prepare go-to resources, talking points, and advice for the questions and anxieties many workers may have during this time.
Leadership – are you doing your part?
Many leaders find themselves worrying and wondering whether employees are really doing their work from home. The question is–are you really doing your job as a leader?
Research done by Laura Hambley, organizational psychologist and founder of Work EvOHlution, found that managers with remote team members need to be more organized, intentional, and hard-working to establish trust.
We know you have a lot on your plate with crisis-management, communicating, and supporting the community, but now is not the time to let things fall through the cracks.
“You can’t get away with lazy leadership,” Hambley said. “You must proactively reach out to people regularly to create a sense of teamwork and community.” (1)
To sum it up:
Establish point contacts
Prepare for HR concerns
Provide proactive, accessible, and responsive leadership
Through these challenging times, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just remember that the hard work you do now to establish better communication strategies may increase employee productivity and engagement in the long-run.