Remote working is here to stay and its hugely boosted productivity. As a consequence, however, communication and engagement has fallen; one Gallup poll, analyzed in Entrepreneur magazine, found 54% of employees are disengaged due to the communication divide. There has never been a better time to have a communications overhaul, both due to the challenge at hand and because of the myriad of solutions being made available to businesses.
Every business needs a unified communications system. Having several different platforms can confuse employees and make them feel distant. This, in turn, creates failure; as Forbes outlines, poor communication can create rifts within a business. Instead, look for a single platform, such as using Yammer for internal communications. Yammer, like other bulletin systems such as Teams, can provide a central point for corporate announcements and team-based communications. This provides a single point of contact and, crucially, a single source of ‘truth’ – an important concept in managing capabilities.
Yammer works great as a bulletin system and daily check-in service. What about greater levels of contact? Many employees will be reticent to do things like go on camera, but this is why tools like Teams have provided blurred backgrounds. Facilitate your staff by providing a platform that works for them and allows them a degree of customization and the ability to feel comfortable, even if they don’t want to display their home.
Tweaking the message
Consider also the content of your messaging. In remote working environments it’s easy to bombard staff with emails. This can be counter-productive. CNBC have highlighted the deleterious effect of email spam, and feature one Germany-based business that has created ‘holiday mode’ to prevent the spam waves from occurring. Keep your communications short, simple, and as infrequent as possible. Staff want to be connected, but they don’t want to be bombarded. Instead, make yourself personally available, through good quality telecoms apps and platforms, for questions, answers and general catchups.
This all boils down to inserting a level of human touch back into the workplace. Remote workplaces remove the human-to-human contact that made a lot of businesses succeed for years of their operation. Remote working removes that, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent change. Even through digital mediums you can connect with employees and help them to engage.