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09.12.2020

The importance of communicating with homeworkers

By Rob Nolan

A key factor in any successful business has always been communication.

From team briefings to modern instant messaging, businesses have developed how, when, and where they communicate.

The goal has always been the same: to ensure the ship is heading in the right direction and that the crew know their jobs. Maintaining this goal, however, and communication with homeworkers, has been challenging during the coronavirus pandemic.

With that in mind, let’s look at ways employers can ensure they maintain fruitful communication with their employees.

Changing channels

Communicating with employees in-person remains the favoured option of most employers. That’s despite the availability of email, instant messaging, and video calling.

2020 may end up reversing this trend, as more employees now work from home. Plus, technological communication channels are safer and becoming more popular by the day. As a result, employers need to develop new tools and skills to keep up.

The rise of remote working

Remote working is here and it’s best to prepare for it to stay. Perhaps not in the numbers we’re currently at, but demand will remain into the future.

For many businesses, the main concerns have been communication, accountability, and productivity. Interestingly though, remote working, according to studies, may have actually improved productivity in certain areas.

So, what are the four key communication areas to stay on top of?

  1. Check-ins

Communication is often seen as a formal process. Business memos, guidelines, and handbooks are often used as these formalised processes. While valuable, they’re often one-way.

Checking in with remote staff to find out how they’re getting on is important as an employer. Certain things may be dragging them down or they have ideas on how to improve their working situation. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.

  1. Celebrate success

Often easy to do, 2020 has forced employers to think on their feet when comes to celebrations such as their work Christmas party. Psychologically, positive reinforcement is a huge contributor to building and maintaining team morale.

So, for employers whose employees are now working from home, it’s important to at least consider some kind of virtual celebration. Doing so would promote inclusion and give remote workers a chance to celebrate with their colleagues.

  1. Communication guidelines

It’s safe to say we all have a lot of ways people can contact us. But it’s important to set out the guidelines e.g. what is used for what. Is it okay to use WhatsApp to set up meetings? Can I instant message a customer?

Some communication channels are ideal for sending information, such as email, but lack a lot when trying to brainstorm. Video conferencing is good for swapping ideas, but on the other hand lacks the directness of email. Research and decide which channels are best for you and your employees.

  1. Proactive and feedback

Sure, it can be tempting to just send out an email. But, that’s not always actual communication, and not the best form after the year we’ve had.

Communication is often defined as a two-way process. Emails, with an unintended tone, can even seem abrupt at times. In a team meeting, communication and feedback are instantaneous and it’s much easier for people to get their message across. That’s the factor employers need to recreate with remote workers as much as they can.

A video call with a follow-up email may be a longer route to take, but may be more productive, and beneficial, in the end.

In conclusion

As communicating with remote workers is something new for many employers to master, the feedback on what’s working and what isn’t will prove invaluable. It will allow employers to communicate clearly in the best and most efficient way possible. But, it’s going to take time to perfect.

Need our help?

For further advice on communicating with remote workers, speak to an expert now on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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