As we ease into 2022, several organisations might want to continue operating from home for safety measures, and remote working is now synonymous with this era of the ‘new normal’. Although adapting to this different working arrangement was necessary, especially during the start of the pandemic, working from home’s rise in popularity came with its own set of problems, such as blurred lines between work and home life.
However, one glaring issue with this working arrangement is that many employees grow increasingly isolated from their work and colleagues, thus negatively affecting their performance. One such factor contributing to this problem is the drastic changes in communication within teams, which is now typically done in online meetings and group text messaging through apps.
Although effective, communicating through these digital channels requires organisations and their leaders to be clear, empathetic, and unambiguous in their messages. Achieving quick decisions requires a tone of urgency and clearness to mitigate mistakes, and being transparent builds trust and conveys respect to employees. On the other hand, showing empathy through these digital channels fosters resilience that overcomes the many obstacles awaiting the future.
Why is communication the key to remote work?
As mentioned previously, proper communication is one of the hurdles businesses should address in today’s remote working setups to ensure a smooth flow during work hours. If left unaddressed, this could lead to disengaged employees who tend to find unconscious and conscious ways to spread negativity, which does no good to their fellow workers and the organisation. This could be done in ways such as expressing negative opinions as a result of affected mental health.
Effective communication serves as a tool that creates and maintains strong relationships, be it personal or professional, and holds true especially for remote working – one that needs careful navigation.
How to improve communications between asynchronous teams
Due to the various ways different organisations carry out their tasks at work, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that solves all communication issues. However, there are plenty of ways to heighten communication to keep remote teams focused and ease the emotional toll from decreased social contact.
1. Replicating some of the natural social occurrences in the office
Replicating some of the natural social occurrences in the office could prove beneficial. A prime example is coffee breaks, wherein coworkers take a momentary rest from work and socialise over a cup of coffee. These informal meetings between close peers allow them to retain the social connection they need despite working remotely and serve as an excellent time to discuss issues and other matters regarding work. Depending on their preference, these coffee breaks can be done through online video chats or in an actual cafe.
2. Promoting open lines of communication
Organisations can promote this through action and lead by example to make the rest follow suit. Keeping one’s lines open builds trust between managers and their employees as the latter can now easily reach their superiors and raise their concerns. If possible, encouraging one-on-one real-time communication also helps eliminate misunderstandings prevalent in stiff text-based messages.
Having open lines also gives managers more control while staying updated on their teams’ progress. With the addition of first-hand conversations along with performance monitoring systems, superiors can better understand the challenges faced by their employees and provide accurate and helpful feedback. In the end, this two-way communication on tasks creates room for flexibility and provides the support that enables employees to push forward in achieving their goals.
3. Providing staff access to meeting facilities when needed
When absolutely needed, providing employees access to flexible working spaces for discussions better-suited face-to-face can be implemented for more productive meeting sessions. While communicating during work from home is plausible with the aforementioned points, some discussions require employees to be physically present – for enhanced comprehension skills.
There are many single office spaces for rent in Singapore that companies can utilise for the benefit of their employees, such as the ones at GreenHub. Businesses can choose an office that well suits their needs and have their employees be present physically on days where it is necessary, such as important client meetings or crucial internal meetings that require staff to hold in-depth discussions deemed easier when meeting face-to-face.
The once necessary shift to remote working came with many benefits but not without its fair share of problems. By working independently across remote locations, communication between teams has become drastically strained. To get back the efficacy of office-like communication, business leaders must take a closer look at the issues affecting their workforce and test out the solutions that best address their situation – this could be in the form of the example given above, through group video chats, for example.
Besides organisation level changes, leaders can tackle this communication issue by placing their employees in coworking spaces – as mentioned above. At GreenHub Singapore, our flexible office spaces serve as the ideal coworking environment that keeps teams together despite working remotely. With modern amenities and features complemented by a green and biophilic interior design, our offices are ready for work while promoting your workers’ mental well-being. To experience our offices in person, contact us at +65 6692 8000 today and arrange for a visit!