In a post-covid world, face-to-face meetings and interaction with coworkers have been replaced with messaging apps and video calls. Lets re-think communication for good.
Virtual teams are deprived of in-person interaction opportunities like sharing information at the water cooler or solving problems on the coffee run. Virtual team members can go days without contacting one another, especially on larger teams. This solitary working environment can lead to feelings of isolation. Virtual employees who feel isolated are less likely to contribute ideas to the team, overall hindering effectiveness. The key to success? More communication! We’re talking quantity & quality. It’s time to increase and enhance your internal communication to drive cohesion within your team and across your organization.
Despite the flexibility that working from home allows, team members miss out on regular office banter, lunches and the casual coworker friendships that get us through a tough Tuesday. It’s difficult for virtual team members to see how their work fits into the big picture, so they become unmotivated. Increase everyday interactions between your team members by creating smaller interdependent tasks and giving virtual employees goals to achieve together. Establish routine check-ins that provide project updates and quick face to face interaction for your team to boost morale and give everyone a chance to see one another.
It’s also important for you to create opportunities to gauge morale and establish trust within your team. Although spontaneous written communication like instant messaging (enter Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams) can feel forced, effective virtual leaders should find creative ways to encourage their team to use them throughout the day (we think meme wars are a great way to enlighten teams, just be sure to keep it work appropriate).
Virtual leaders should build intentional social time on the calendar on a weekly basis. While we’re hard at work designing new strategies to optimize productivity, It’s also important to make space for those light hearted meetings that provide opportunities to talk about weekend plans or upcoming adventures. Virtual Happy Hours or even simple games can help a team feel connected and boost productivity.
COMMUNICATION QUALITY. MAKE THEM FEEL IT!
At EXP, we like to say “Make them feel it!” This is getting at the experiential side of things, by getting right down to the feeling and building the interaction around creating that. In the virtual world, we are competing with all the distractions that may be lurking in our peoples’ homes. This means that our messaging needs to be captivating and succinct! In order to win in the virtual space, your content needs to be television broadcast quality.
Previously, you could gather everyone in a ballroom for a day or two and go over all the goals for the new year in a series of long-winded keynotes, varying in quality & effectiveness. With that, you had the luxury of pulling your audience away from their world and plopping them into yours. Now, we have to meet them where they’re at - in their space.
That means that we’re competing for their attention in a whole new way - and many of the sensory tools that we had before simply aren’t available to us. This means that your media has to be top-notch quality, and in today’s landscape calls for shorter content! Your CEO might be used to putting together a 2-hour keynote, but it’s time to condense that into a 20-minute video that excites & delights while holding your people at the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
IT’S ALL IN THE STRATEGY
You might have great meetings with people still feeling isolated and disconnected. You may have great morale while your goals remain un-crushed and deadlines continue to be pushed back. The real key to success is the overall communication strategy. This game is all about identifying the main objectives and then designing an ecosystem of tools that allow you to truly drive home the experience that you want for your people. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for this… every organization is unique, thus every situation will call for a unique strategy.
We hope virtual leaders all over will find these tips helpful in creating opportunities to create meaningful opportunities for your team to connect and engage in lieu of face to face contact. If you’re looking for tools to incorporate interaction, be sure to check out EXP Connect!