How Managers Should Communicate With Teleworkers
A teleworking manager may be trying to stay connected to a dozen or more direct employees on any given day. Many of these managers and their employees may even be new to teleworking since the pandemic has drastically increased the number of people working from home. One of the biggest challenges—if not the biggest—for a manager overseeing a teleworking or remote working team is staying connected to each and every team member.
Whether your team started teleworking five years ago or is still transitioning to remote work, here are four tips for managers who want better communication with their direct employees.
Keep Communication Frequent and Consistent
47% of HR professionals in a recent study said that effective communication was crucial when transitioning to remote work. When it comes to communication, don’t wait for your employees to get in touch with you. Take the initiative. Communicate with them frequently. Let them know you are thinking of them and interested in their work and lives. You will also need to find a way to answer quick questions. Some managers have been setting up office hours for questions that can be answered in under 10 minutes.
Consistency is another critical part of the communication equation. Your team members should feel confident they are all receiving the same information. Managers should confirm their communication is consistent with messaging from the top.
Use Rituals to Create Stability
Developing a sense of stability while your team is teleworking helps when there is a lot of unpredictability. And there is a lot of unpredictability right now. Some managers suggest regular morning check-ins to go over any new developments and chart a course for the day. Other managers have reported having fun themes for meetings. A predictable ritual builds a sense of connection and can add a little fun to a regular workday.
As you learn how to communicate with your team, you will find not everyone wants frequent communication. Others may take up more time than you are willing to give. Teleworking can leave employees and managers feeling like they need to be available 24/7. Your role is to let your team know your expectations and that it’s ok to have boundaries. Start by setting them for yourself. Tell your team you are happy to be available when they need you and that you will check-in with them regularly. Then let them know, for example, you will not be starting your day until 9 am because you want to help your family with breakfast or that you are taking half an hour at noon for your online meditation group. By taking space, you give your team permission to do the same.
Remember To Boost Morale
One of the hardest things about managing a teleworking team is maintaining morale. Employees can feel isolated and unappreciated. With other life stressors, working from home is not always easy. Taking the time to provide positive feedback and show appreciation for your team’s work at the end of each day is sure to boost morale.
Staying connected to your direct employees can seem daunting at first. With clear communication, availability, and reliable feedback, your team will feel more connected to you and each other.