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Team Communication: Working from home vs working in the office

By Laura Perry, Copywriting & Editing Intern at Talent Academy


Team communication is vital to a productive team that helps your company thrive. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of working from home has demanded changes in our methods of communication in teams and with each other.


A man is having an online meeting

Why is team communication important?

Team communication is essential to a team's ability to work effectively and produce significant outcomes. Without communication, team members do not have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and whether they have achieved the necessary goals.


It is easy to quickly check-in with colleagues at the office and seek help when it’s needed. However, staying at home means there is a complete reliance on technology to maintain clear, effective communication.


An article by Converge International highlights some of the difficulties of managing remote communication and poses some of the solutions that assist in maintaining good communication in teams and organisations.


“Most of these solutions revolve around trust and dialled up creative communication:

  • "Relying on and becoming fluent users of video conferencing platforms

  • "Always being available or “on”

  • "Having longer one-on-ones

  • "Measuring and monitoring outcomes and productivity as process has been so disrupted

  • "Making time for small talk - even if on a virtual platform

  • "Setting regular key goals and conveying them to the team

  • "Seeking more frequent employee feedback

  • "Ensure everyone has the right tools and equipment” (Converge International).


If you're interested in increasing your team communication, get in touch with us today to organise a team-building communication workshop! Keep reading for more tips!

A lady who is working from home

Converge International suggests that managers should prioritise outcomes over processes. While you could develop a system that allows you to monitor your employees’ time online, a strict 9-5 routine doesn’t necessarily promote peak productivity. “In the grand scheme of things, an employee’s ability to complete tasks, complete quality work and move projects forward is much more indicative of their performance and should be the litmus test. If the work is getting done, and the company is achieving its goals, that’s a solid outcome” (Converge International).


Converge International provide three strategies to help prioritise outcomes:

Establish a culture of trust

Trust is a two-way street; trust your employees, and they will trust you back, increasing their productivity. Rather than constantly questioning your team when they are not online, take a step back and look at the amount of work that is being completed. To assist with this, communicate with your team often and assign them engaging and meaningful work with clearly defined outcomes and expectations.


Agree on outcomes

“Make sure you outline realistic goals and intended results to ensure your team is on board. Communicate exactly what the goal is, how it can be measured in terms of success, and set a realistic time frame. Once you’ve identified these, give your team the space to deliver and be available for any questions or problems that may arise” (Converge International).


Let go of control

“Constantly micromanaging your team’s working hours can be time-consuming and take you away from other vital work that affects your own KPI’s. Instead, empower your team to work however, whenever and wherever they are most productive. When employees have the power to work on their own terms, they’re generally happier and therefore more productive” (Converge International).


Working in the office with team

It’s easy to associate being at the office desk with “working”, and being away from the office desk with “not working”, but this only reflects how good an employee is at showing up to work. Sure, it can be easier to actively drive processes in an office setting as you can physically check in with team members, but the forced shift to remote working has revealed increases in productivity and employee satisfaction with their work (Converge International).


The key to managing your team (even when working from home) is clear and open communication and trust. Whether this occurs face to face in an office setting, or via technology when employees are working remotely, team communication is crucial to increasing productivity and achieving desired outcomes.


After all, we’re humans, not mind-reading robots!



Are you a leader in a corporate business? Are you struggling to maintain effective communication in your team during the shift to remote work? Get in touch with us today to organise a team-building communication workshop!


To learn more about communicating via online platforms, check out our online course "Presenting for Camera and Online" which will help guide you through effective and engaging digital communication.





Reference:

Converge International, n.d., Managing teams working partly from home and partly in the office isn't straightforward, accessed 25 January 2022, <http://convergeinternational.com.au/manager-assist-material/managing-teams-working-partly-from-home-and-partly-in-the-office-isn't-straightforward>

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