Communication Tips For Working From Distributed Locations
Increasing work in the home office offers a variety of opportunities, but also risks. According to a survey among 500 office workers, the vast majority (83 percent) believe that the corona crisis has opened up a new business trend towards more digitalization and home office usage. A clear majority (61 percent) is also in favor of a law establishing a right to work from a home office, as is currently being discussed in Germany.
OTRS Group has put together three tips to keep the workflow in the home office flowing:
1. Selection of suitable communication systems
To keep employee communication in the home office running, communication tools should be carefully selected. In the office, employees communicate in large informal brainstorming sessions, in smaller project groups or in pairs for confidential conversations. It should also be possible to cover these different forms of communication when employees are not sitting together in person.
– Solution for video conferencing: It is important in the flow of communication to be able to observe the facial expressions of a person during a meeting. A tool such as GoToMeeting, which allows all team members to switch on their cameras at the same time, is suitable for this purpose in order to have an efficient group discussion.
– Solution for spontaneous chat: The exchange that takes place during a spontaneous coffee break can sometimes lead to excellent ideas. Therefore, it is important to promote spontaneous chatting between colleagues with appropriate solutions such as RocketChat.
– Brainstorming options: Ideas can also be brainstormed virtually with colored Post-It’s and recorded, so that further creative interactions can take place. How about Miro?
– Online webinars: Further training is an important motivator for employees. Even if the training cannot take place physically, there are still many opportunities for further development: Webinars (often free of charge via LinkedIn) are available, as well as internal training opportunities via video conferencing or online podcasts.
2. Good documentation with automated systems
It is nothing new that orderly and clean documentation is essential in many processes. But when teams are distributed across different locations and are located in different time zones, it is even more essential to document the status quo in writing. Remote work ticket systems like OTRS help to understand what others are working on. For example, an employee who just starts his working day can see the current status of a project while others are still asleep. Misinformation cannot simply be passed on. Company-wide shared calendars also help to view each other’s appointments and keep track of how many employees are currently in the office.
3. Strengthening the corporate culture: virtual offsites
Now that many employees work at different locations, it is even more important to define clear corporate culture in order to create a “we-feeling”. Communicating what management priorities are, where the company stands and what vision it has can be essential for employee motivation. Virtual offsite meetings are a good option, in which employees can talk about the culture and all the issues that concern them without time pressure.
“We find ourselves in an increasingly digitalized world. This leads to many advantages, but also risks; especially when employees work from their homes more often and for longer periods,” says Sabine Riedel, member of the board at OTRS Group and expert for digital transformation. “The provision of tools that support the communication that employees are used to in their daily office routine is an effective measure for maintaining productivity, but also for the long-term successful development of the company.”