Two years on from the pandemic, the way your business communicates probably looks a lot different than it did before 2020. With the rise of remote working, along with colleagues now spread out across different regions and time zones, strong communication has never been more important.
A workplace that lacks strong communication is one where misunderstandings and disagreements are sure to run rife. And when stress levels are high, everyone’s job becomes a little bit tougher.
With the right communication channels, however, questions get answered clearly and quickly, work becomes more organised and projects can be completed on time.
As a leader, it’s important to make sure everyone on your team is communicating effectively, especially if your business is taking a hybrid approach to work. Below, we’ll run through several powerful methods you can use to optimise team communication.
1. Set up an open-door policy
Putting an open-door policy in place sends a great message to those on your team: you’re ready and willing to answer questions, listen to concerns and open to ideas from others.
Whether it’s literal or figurative, opening yourself up in this way is an excellent means of building trust throughout your team. It takes down the physical and mental barriers that may have stopped others from communicating with you.
And when time is of the essence, shutting yourself off from your team like this stands in the way of any potential achievements you and your team could have otherwise made.
2. Use project management software
Working remotely or not, project management software helps streamline the efforts of your team wherever they’re based. Cloud-based software and online Gantt charts make everything clear and transparent.
This means your team know exactly how everyone else is progressing, collaboration becomes far easier, and due dates and deadlines are always in view.
With all the information gathered in one handy location, you can reduce the number of misunderstandings and disagreements that may arise as a result of less centralised methods.
3. Schedule regular status updates
Leading on from proper project management, checking in on your team to see how they’re dealing with their work gives you the chance to address any issues that may arise. Whether it’s daily or weekly stand-ups – over video, the phone or a communication tool like Slack – regularly touching base ensures everyone is on the same page.
This also helps ensure your team are invested in their work. When they know their manager is taking an interest in the tasks they need to complete, it gives team members more of an incentive to carry out these duties to the best of their ability. And ultimately, that’s what makes a project as successful as possible.
4. Set clear agendas for each meeting
The influx of modern communication methods means that touching base and getting together should never pose a problem. But are you using that time wisely?
If the content of your meetings is a little on the lighter side, then you might find the outcome isn’t as productive as you’d hoped.
It’s also worth considering who should attend. Dragging in team members who won’t benefit from the discussion will only eat into the time they could’ve spent doing something more productive.
To make sure nobody’s time is being wasted, creating an agenda ahead of the meeting itself helps everyone know what’s to be expected – and ensures everything stays focused and on track.
Before you sit down with your team, ask yourself the following:
– Who’s going to be speaking?
– What topics will be covered?
– What is the purpose of the meeting?
– How long will the meeting last?
– Do any materials need to be distributed before the meeting?
– Is there anyone who doesn’t need to attend?
5. Tailor things on an individual level
Everyone has their preferred methods of communicating – what might work for one team member might go completely unnoticed by another. With their different working styles to consider, you should also weigh up which lines of communication best suit each individual team member.
Some people may thrive in one-to-one, in-person scenarios, whereas for others, a quick email or message may suffice. And if you’re unsure, you can always ask each team member which method of communication they’d prefer you to use with them.
6. Encourage feedback
Communication is a two-way process, and the same goes for feedback. It can be easy to shy away from – especially for team members who don’t like to rock the boat. But much like an open-door policy, it can help to build trust amongst your team.
When offering feedback to your team, be constructive in your responses. “Get this done” never helped anyone, after all. Along with plenty of pointers, be clear and detailed when you provide it.
At the same time, you should welcome feedback from your team members too. By levelling the hierarchy in this way, communication becomes stronger, creating a dynamic that everyone can benefit from.
7. Make video calls a regular thing
With remote working seemingly here to stay, those who are working from home may feel detached from other team members. Make sure you’re connecting with home-based workers on a regular basis through one-to-one video calls.
It might be the new normal, but it’s well worth checking in on your remote colleagues to see how they’re getting on, both from a work and well-being perspective.
8. Look into formal communication training
It may be more costly than anything else we’ve suggested so far, but investing in training opportunities can create results that far outweigh the cost. Communication training can be often overlooked, but if you’re looking to keep your team’s skills sharp, it could well be invaluable.
Communication courses can help in several different ways. From the power of persuasion and creating more effective emails to learning how to deliver presentations and provide feedback, your team can learn new methods and strengthen weak points that’ll help them flourish in different areas.
What’s more, this also helps them to communicate with other teams. When your team gain a greater understanding of what other departments do, and how their work relates to their own duties, it benefits the company as a result.
9. Don’t forget the fun stuff
Mixing up your meetings and one-to-ones with something a bit more light-hearted is a great way of boosting team morale, so be sure to schedule some time together when everyone can (relatively speaking) let their hair down.
Rather than stuffy team-building exercises, why not host a pizza party, break out a board game or take your team out for food. After all, all work and no play…
To find out more about careers at SEFE Marketing & Trading please visit our homepage.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of SEFE Marketing & Trading. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. SEFE Marketing & Trading accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.