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The Importance of Real-Time Communication to Remote Working

Young man smiling in front of the laptop.

Five rea­sons your per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem needs to main­tain open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with telecommuters

Remote work­ing is becom­ing increas­ing­ly com­mon­place. The advance of com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy and team col­lab­o­ra­tion soft­ware allows for increased flex­i­bil­i­ty and enables com­pa­nies to employ the most tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als from any­where in the world.

Telecom­mut­ing has been known to save a com­pa­ny mon­ey, while boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and morale in the process. Despite this, there are cer­tain issues that become more press­ing when an employ­ee is work­ing remote­ly — the most impor­tant of which is that of authen­tic communication.

When com­mu­ni­ca­tion breaks down with­in an organ­i­sa­tion, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty suf­fers and engage­ment drops. As such, it is essen­tial, from a per­for­mance man­age­ment stand­point, to ensure that reg­u­lar, real-time com­mu­ni­ca­tion between remote work­ers and man­agers is seam­less and sim­ple. This type of com­mu­ni­ca­tion can ben­e­fit your remote employ­ees in so many ways — but none more impor­tant than the fol­low­ing five.

1. Increase in trust and employ­ee engagement

Main­tain­ing open lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is an essen­tial way of build­ing trust between employ­ees and man­agers. It is also crit­i­cal to estab­lish­ing and main­tain­ing high lev­els of employ­ee engage­ment. This is why large cor­po­ra­tions such as Adobe have moved towards con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment and fre­quent employ­ee check-ins. Month­ly per­for­mance dis­cus­sions are less awk­ward and pres­sure-filled than annu­al appraisals. With reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled con­ver­sa­tions, employ­ees begin to see their super­vi­sors as a coach, rather than an intim­i­dat­ing author­i­ty figure.

2. Reg­u­lar feed­back and recog­ni­tion can be delivered

When man­ag­ing a remote team, keep in mind that feed­back is the cheap­est, most pow­er­ful and most under­used tool an organ­i­sa­tion has to hand. Qual­i­ty feed­back can keep an employ­ee on track and moti­vat­ed to achieve their objec­tives. With­out feed­back, an employ­ee is work­ing blind and is far less like­ly to per­form to standard.

Time­li­ness is a huge fac­tor when it comes to feed­back. If employ­ees are mak­ing mis­takes in a par­tic­u­lar area, the soon­er they find out, the bet­ter. The longer indi­vid­u­als are left to build bad habits, the hard­er it is to break them. Equal­ly, if an employ­ee exceeds expec­ta­tions, they should be giv­en swift praise, as this will help to moti­vate them. Stud­ies have shown that recog­ni­tion and pos­i­tive feed­back can mat­ter even more than mon­ey to the aver­age employ­ee, and 88% of employ­ees find praise from man­agers to be extreme­ly moti­vat­ing. Organ­i­sa­tions can make use of mod­ern per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware to deliv­er this kind of prompt, real-time feedback.

3. Super­vi­sors and employ­ees can keep goals on track

A reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled dis­cus­sion with remote work­ers will do won­ders when it comes to the track­ing of short and long-term goals. Employ­ees can let their super­vi­sors know how work is pro­gress­ing and dis­cuss any hur­dles that might be imped­ing progress. It might be that the employee’s goals need to be reeval­u­at­ed and altered. Reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions allow for this flex­i­bil­i­ty, mean­ing that employ­ees can press ahead as soon as pos­si­ble with a new, more real­is­tic objec­tive in mind.

4. Social­i­sa­tion means increased morale

Remote work­ing can be dif­fi­cult and be iso­lat­ing for cer­tain peo­ple. It takes a very spe­cif­ic per­son­al­i­ty type to be sat­is­fied with lit­tle to no phys­i­cal inter­ac­tion on a dai­ly basis. Build process­es to ensure that your team mem­bers keep in touch with their co-work­ers and super­vi­sors in order to main­tain high morale and devel­op a sense of team­work. At Clear Review, our remote work­ing team has a short video call togeth­er each morning.

It has been shown that reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the work­place between employ­ees and man­agers helps to devel­op effi­cient teams and build trust. It also reduces com­pe­ti­tion, mean­ing employ­ees can work along­side each oth­er, rather than against each oth­er, to achieve a com­mon goal. The result is increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, cre­ativ­i­ty and height­ened employ­ee engagement.

5. Employ­ees are kept abreast of com­pa­ny issues

Man­agers shouldn’t for­get to keep remote staff up to date on cur­rent com­pa­ny devel­op­ments. Con­text mat­ters to an employ­ee. By fail­ing to keep employ­ees noti­fied about the big pic­ture, you are giv­ing them the impres­sion that they are not impor­tant, even when the oppo­site is true.

Your remote team needs to know what the com­pa­ny mis­sion and goals are, the direc­tion it is tak­ing and how their role fits into the grand scheme of things. This can be a huge fac­tor when it comes to employ­ee engagement.

When an employ­ee is able to under­stand and observe their con­tri­bu­tion to their com­pa­ny, they are less like­ly to leave for anoth­er posi­tion. Estab­lish­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing a com­pa­ny mis­sion also improves strate­gic align­ment. This means the employ­ee is clear on the pur­pose of the company’s exis­tence, which helps every­one on board to bal­ance pri­or­i­ties and set goals in line with com­pa­ny objectives.