One of the biggest challenges facing any business during the coronavirus outbreak is maintaining communication throughout their workforce. With many employees currently working from home, or other unusual locations, the luxury of in-person meetings is mostly gone. New methods, practices, and remote communication tools are needed to help keep productivity high, as well as to maintain morale.
In this article, we’ll briefly cover the best remote communication options available, as well as some best practices when dealing with at-home workers.
Five Tips for Maintaining Communications and Remote Collaboration
- Video chat is best
One small bright side to the timing of this pandemic is that we’re finally living in a world where videoconferencing is relatively easy and available to anyone with a modern computer, cell phone, and Internet connection. Software such as Facetime and Zoom allows you to maintain face-to-face communications, from anywhere in the world.
- Make use of chat software
If videoconferencing is unavailable, chat software is the next best option. Large-scale chat rooms are easy to maintain and allow for file transfers, unlike telephone conferences. Phones are really only going to be useful for one-on-one talks; use chat for everything else if you have to.
- Focus on precise, clear wording in text communications
The big problem with chat, as well as email, is that pure text can often be hard to properly interpret. In your internal policies, stress the importance of clear writing. Always think about how the reader might interpret – or misinterpret! – written words. It might also be a good idea to relax policies against the use of emoticons and other visual elements when they could help maintain clarity.
- Keep in touch with workers regularly
Working from home can be isolating, and demoralizing. Regularly touch base with your workforce, even if just to ensure they’re doing OK. You might start a spreadsheet tracking contacts, to make sure no one is overlooked.
- Respect regular business hours
Finally, we strongly urge companies to respect regular business hours, and not treat at-home workers as though they’re on-call 24/7. It can be tempting, but if workers feel like their free time is being interrupted, it can be devastating for morale. Employees need to be able to maintain a regular work-life balance in these difficult times.