The rise of remote working is here to stay. With the global pandemic accelerating the trend massively, there are no signs of remote teams returning to the office any time soon. However, the necessity to disperse teams has come with challenges. And not least among these is ensuring your staff’s communication is working properly.
What you will learn in this article
- Why remote working is here to stay
- 10 big clues your remote teams are not communicating well
- How CRM can help
- The future of remote working
- Getting started with CRM as a small business
Remote working is here to stay
There’s no point in hoping that you will resolve communication problems over time. Or that remote working is just a blip. The fact is that remote working looks set to continue. Gartner has estimated that globally almost 90% of organizations switched to remote working as a direct result of the pandemic.
Now further research suggests that the vast majority of employees wish to continue working from home. While COVID-19 is being defeated, it looks very much like remote working will be the new norm.
10 signs your remote workers are struggling with efficient communication
Poor communication habits are the Achilles Heel of remote working. Here are 10 surefire signs you have a communication breakdown.
1. Lack of trust
One of the first clues is distrust between team members and your remote team and management. Not being able to trust one another is corrosive. Establishing a routine of live meetings and individual catch-ups will help build trust. To make remote working a success takes time and effort. Making regular contact will also assist you in keeping track of every team member’s progress.
2. Resistance to change
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of remote working. It is essential that you effectively manage the change by ramping up comms with your remote workers. If team members feel unable to adapt, they are often fearful of the unknown and/or for their job. Change is unsettling and poor communication is a symptom.
3. Teams lack direction and purpose
Another telltale sign that you have a problem with a remote team is a lack of direction. You can overcome this by simply asking people what and why they are doing specific tasks.
It’s up to you as management to set expectations, clear objectives, and deadlines. Once these have been determined, communicate about them often and early. It’s also worth reminding staff of their role in your company’s success. If everyone has a good idea of where the goals are located, they will have a sense of purpose.
If there are multiple instances of people getting the wrong end of the stick, it’s usually because a written message has been taken out of context. Remind remote workers always to clarify issues they are not sure about. It would be helpful if you encouraged them to use the technology to share screens, send visuals, or have a quick video call.
5. Poor onboarding
Ensure your onboarding process for new team members is comprehensive. If it becomes clear new team members aren’t following the plot, it’s because you have failed to give them the necessary knowledge and insight. Keep the onboarding info accessible and help out with reminders when necessary.
6. Patchy communications
Inconsistent communications are another big clue you need to take corrective action with your remote team. Set guidelines about how information should flow through your organization. It’s challenging to get a handle on what’s important if docs are variously sent by email or as an instant messaging attachment, for example. You and other senior management should set the tone by strictly following the guidelines.
7. Little rapport between team members
It can be difficult for a team to gel if they are not in the same building. It would be best if you created an online culture that encourages people to talk. As counterproductive as it may feel, encouraging team members to communicate about non-related work stuff is a good idea to help team-building. Find things like milestones and wins to celebrate during conference calls and video meetings.
8. Too much communication
Paradoxically, too much communication via email, instant messaging, group chats, etc., is a bad sign. If there’s information overload, team members will switch off. Choose appropriate channels for team announcements, and don’t repeat them over multiple channels unless absolutely necessary. Be consistent in your communications and listen as much as you talk.
9. Staying on track
If team members are losing focus and you are struggling to keep tabs on focus, it’s time to do things differently. Effective communications involve a way for you to assign and track progress. Tracking should be accessible to everyone, so the entire team knows where they are with a project.
10. A lack of collaboration tools
Poor communication between you and your remote team may be down to the wrong tools or a lack of tools to collaborate effectively.
How CRM can help
A CRM system that’s designed for remote working and collaboration will help remedy most of these shortcomings. CRM systems bring everything under one roof. From one platform, you can
- Assign and track tasks
- Communicate effectively with your team
- Obtain advanced management tools
- Keep all your data in one centralized spot that your entire team can access
Remote working in the future
As previously stated, remote working is rapidly becoming the new norm, even for small businesses. Keeping a weather eye out for the 10 signs above and taking action will ensure your remote team can work as efficiently and effectively as possible. But definitely consider CRM as the long-term remedy.
The collaboration that’s possible via CRM is as attainable for small businesses as it is for large multinational corporations. To keep your remote team happy and working smoothly, it’s time to think about CRM rather than cobbling together a DIY solution using multiple apps and platforms. Contact us today to discuss how you can implement our small business-friendly CRM system. It’s cloud-based and especially designed for small businesses even with zero IT experts in-house.