How to Maintain Effective Communication in a Virtual Office
Switching to a virtual office has its pros and cons, and if you think that your business could not only survive but thrive with a virtual setup rather than a traditional setup, then it’s worth making sure that your virtual team will work together seamlessly, even if all of you are scattered across the world working remotely.
But one of the most common concerns that virtual companies have is maintaining proper and effective communication with everyone in the team. A common source of misunderstanding among colleagues is vague e-mails and other team members being unable to answer a call or e-mail immediately. To solve these easily avoidable problems, here are simple ways you could to to improve your rapport with your team and continue the progress of your virtual babies.
Focus on results, not on the process
Another common risk that businesses face when switching to a virtual office is that bosses tend to breathe down on their employees’ neck and start to micromanage. However, trust and delegation are two important things that will help everyone do their respective jobs properly. And one way to ensure this without unnecessary micromanagement is by focusing on the expected results instead of nitpicking on the process and everyone’s activity by the minute. While some are more productive when they sit in front of their computers for eight hours straight, others work better and generate better results when they take multiple short breaks. As a boss, you need to respect each individual’s process and trust that they will be able to deliver.
Observe proper e-mail etiquette
Apart from instant messaging such as Skype, e-mail will be one of your primary modes of communication. This is why it’s worth investing on training your team how to communicate properly via e-mail. There are many nuances in face-to-face communication that aren’t present in written communication, so sounding sarcastic on e-mail might not be able to translate well. Poorly thought out jokes might be taken offensively. And an otherwise straightforward e-mail might be misunderstood as being too mean. Everyone in the team must be able to identify one another’s quirks when sending out internal e-mail, and strictly observe proper e-mail etiquette especially when sending out e-mails to potential and existing clients.
Maintain regular face-to-face meetings
When you’ve finally found the perfect balance between working remotely and maintaining regular communication with your teammates, your entire virtual office setup will be easier to manage. However, this doesn’t mean that meeting face to face should be gone. There still needs to be regular meetings, even a few times a year, just to catch up with how everyone is doing, make sure that you are all aligned with your tasks, and just chat and be social with each other.
Oct 30, 2015