Working from home: Are your teams talking enough?

Even though the UK is slowly but surely adjusting back to normal after the pandemic, a large proportion of us will likely continue working from home for the foreseeable future.

This new way of working will continue to affect how our employees talk, create and collaborate.

When all of your team are within shouting distance in the office, it’s easy for us to take these spontaneous conversations for granted. Want to check the status on a piece of work, or see how someone is getting on? It’s as simple as calling out their name and asking. But now, more and more of us are separated working from our own homes. 

Now instead of wandering over to someone’s desk in the office, we’ll send an email or instant message to one another, which can take minutes or hours to get a reply. This change is a consistent challenge for organisations to deal with. 

Not only how we talk to each other is being affected, but also how we create, collaborate, and make group decisions. By now, a lot of remote teams will be using video conferencing software to communicate – usually Zoom, Teams or Google Meet – but this isn’t a perfect solution.

We’ve all experienced technical issues that get in the way of these virtual meetings, internet lag, background noise, people freezing and/or disconnecting. It’s also not as easy to hear one another or make your voice heard, especially amongst those chatting in larger meetings. 

Of course, virtual collaborations can be organised so everyone has their turn to speak, but this does kill a bit of momentum, especially when brainstorming or during creative thinking. 

From a project’s start to it’s finish, collaboration plays a massive part. When two colleagues are working on a project, but they aren’t in the same room – they may find it hard to know if they’re on the same page. 

At Stribe, we understand the challenge of keeping our teams – and our customer’s teams – talking with one another. So, we put our heads together and have come up with 3 key ideas to get your employees talking! 

Set up recurring meetings with your employees

To avoid the effort of finding a time that works for everyone, why not schedule recurring meetings to encourage conversation at work. This could be daily (such as a morning stand-up), weekly (such as a full team meeting) or project-specific (setting some time slots aside during a project’s development).

Recurring meetings have a whole host of benefits. They remind employees of common workplace goals, encourage team-building and also provide an opportunity for employee recognition and appreciation. 

Creating channels of communication

Make sure to open up multiple channels of communication where employees can talk and collaborate, if you have only one, information might get lost. 

For instance, there could be different channels for different teams, such as one for sales, one for marketing and one for operations – as an example. 

You could also create separate spaces for those working on a project together, so those involved can keep track of what work needs to be done, what has been completed, and gives the team the ability to create meetings and collaborate.

Most of the world’s messaging tools, such as Slack, Skype, Teams & Discord all have the facility to create multiple channels for people to speak, within an organisation. 

Try to recreate those ‘water-cooler’ moments

As well as employees having a space to catch up on work, they equally need a place to chat informally about anything that’s on their mind. Chatting about more personal activities and anything non-work related is important for employees to develop relationships with their peers. 

To further help your employees to express their personality and speak with more spontaneity, it’s key for leadership figures to lead by example. Use informal language and emojis to your advantage, talk about weekend plans and/or your hobbies and encourage others to do the same. 

You can also give your team the ability to catch up with their workmates through virtual spaces. Set up a virtual coffee meet for a period during the day, or catch up with your team with after work drinks! Some large organisations are already leading the way in creating an always-open online meeting room, allowing team members to stop by and have casual chats whenever they want. 

Give your employees a voice

As mentioned earlier, some employees may not have as much of a chance to suggest ideas or give feedback to management when working remotely. It’s important to give them a voice and allow them to let their superiors know how they feel. This could include the ability to submit feedback anonymously – in case team members feel uncomfortable putting their name to a piece of feedback, or an idea.

At Stribe, we believe that when teams are heard, people are happy. This is why empowering employees by giving them a voice is central to our platform. If you’d like to learn more about us and what we do, you can learn how to create more of a collaborative team – by clicking this link.

If you’ve found success in keeping your team active and collaborating while working from home, let us know at hello@stribehq.com! We’ll share some of the success stories in a later post 😃

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