A remote working policy is not about dos and don’ts. There is a lot of information on how to execute remote work successfully. However, it rarely takes into account the essential. The people working, not the job. You might be able to pull off a functional policy. But, if it doesn’t have the well-being of your employees at the center of it - you’re guaranteed to have short term results.
Internal Comms to support remote workers
Let’s kick the indiscrete elephant out of the room. Remote work can, and likely will undermine some of your communications. Less frequent contact leads to feelings of loneliness and ostracism. Your number one priority is to avoid that happening. You can’t keep an eye on everyone at all times, especially digitally. This is why your first step is to identify your organization’s internal influencers. Who are the people who embody the culture of your organization the best? Whoever comes to mind, keep an eye on them. They oil up the inner machinery of your organization, particularly in times of change. Give them the responsibility to take care of your teams. From personal-relationship maintenance to ensuring that everyone is on the same page for the day, they will help you follow your tactical internal comms plan. Let’s clear up three things you and your internal comms leaders have an easier time following along.
1. Your communications need to be as user-friendly as possible. Lengthy, repetitive messages and announcements will be ignored.
2. Always be clear with what you want to address in the medium of your choice. You can bullet-point your way through it, or prioritize what needs to be said to whom.
3. Independently of the medium, communicate clearly and humanely. If the message doesn’t ring genuine to your ears, you know pretty well how it’s gonna sound to someone else’s eardrums.
Following up with things worth keeping in mind - people like getting to know each other better. Building a community will determine the success of your Internal Comms. Don’t be afraid to venture outside the standard stuff. Movie nights on platforms like NetflixParty, or virtual drinks and deep questions with games like So Cards are an easy way to create deeper bonds. If you want to take it up a notch, you can talk to your HR team to personalize team building activities. They will surely have ideas for remote workers as well. During uncertain times persistence and repetition are necessary. Your employees forget things under stress. Whenever you see the chance, repurpose your message onto new mediums to communicate it successfully. For example: a newsletter turned into a snappy short video.
Streamline your communication channels
Take a minute to give your channels a thorough look. You’ve found redundant ones and new options worth considering. Each communication channel provides a distinct user experience. And if it rings a bell, you know that not everything is worthy of a meeting. Audit your communication channels, and designate the primary purpose of each. Keep track of what’s being said, for what purpose, and how.
Messaging apps are a great option for day-to-day communication. They help create a sense of community and social cohesion. Keep them around for casual conversations and community building. Get your internal comms leaders active on these platforms, as this is where most of the fun is happening. GIFs, videos, games, can be a firestarter for a funnier, more relaxed workday. Your employees will take care of the rest once they are engaged. Taking down things a notch again, e-mails. Just the word might succinct a feeling of boredom. We’ll make this one real simple and short for you.
1. Don’t send useless e-mails
2. Make sure everyone gives their notification settings a look
3. Do not mass reply to any mail. Thank you from everyone and for everyone.
A high-quality remote work intranet will provide substantial results. They will help keep everyone in the loop in an entertaining, user-friendly way. A good intranet will cross off many of your internal communications goals. You can easily make company-wide announcements, publish important files to your different publics, and manage everything from an all-inclusive dashboard. Employees really appreciate having their own social platform, especially if it has a good UX.
Remote meetings with team members can and should be improved
If what you are looking for is multitasking, or to address important subjects, video calls are the way to go.
First things first. Invite the right people. Second things second. Stick to some basic etiquette. Avoid distractions, mute your microphone when not speaking, and don’t interrupt others. It doesn’t hurt to remind you to close your YouTube and Netflix tabs before screen sharing. Make sure that everyone is participating. Not everyone might be in the mood, and the less they talk, the more likely they are to feel excluded. Dedicate a few minutes at the beginning of every call to check up on everyone. Start with the people who talk the least. Oftentimes, halfway through the conversation people get quiet. Start asking questions. “What do you think?”, “Do you have any suggestions?”, “If you had to change one thing, what would it be?”. The difference between speaking in person and remote calls are likely to make people talk less. And regardless of the context, people like knowing their opinion is valuable. Give everyone a voice.
Do you need to have an emotionally complicated conversation? A virtual setting won’t cut it. Psychological safety is the number one priority of any successful team. Staying on-topic during remote meetings is even more important. Think twice before bringing something up – is it urgent? Is it on-topic? If you can answer even one of these questions with a “no”, then find a different time and place. For example: you’re in monthly KPI-call. One person’s performance isn’t on par. Should you bring that up during the KPI-call? Consider carefully whether a subject is appropriate.Otherwise, leave it for some other time or setting.
A company culture around creative collaboration
Everyone is busy working. But is everyone busy creating? Being far from the people we work with can be challenging at times. Fortunately, creativity is known for being enhanced when working with others. Much like making consecutive jokes with friends that get funnier by the minute, work is improved when sparked by interpersonal relations. This is the fun part. You can create collaborative music playlists, do workout challenges, mindfulness practice, record yourselves during your workday. You name it. Your company’s spark is created, not worked through.
Long term results on employees’ productivity
How to measure your employee’s productivity is up to you. You know your company better than anyone, and depending on your working culture, you’ll know how to make the most out of it.
Do take into account a few things before jumping to conclusions. For example, your employees are unlikely to want to be micromanaged, and you could determine specific requirements for every employee’s output. That’d guarantee everyone’s working properly, right? Not really. Our suggestion? Focus on the outcome, not the amount of time put into the work. Set up systems to measure the quality of output by making each other’s work interdependent. If Carl the copywriter is doing a piece that can be reused as video content, Sabrina the content maker will be dependent on Carl’s long-awaited work. Sabrina will create a sense of positive pressure and will help get things going. Once Carl’s piece is ready, he will be able to help translate the piece onto a new medium for Sabrina. In a few words, you’re creating a great chain of collaboration and a culture of feedback. At the end of the day, results will be cheered by everyone, not just Carl.
But what if you really, but like really want to find out if everyone is working well? Trust them.