By John Turner, founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.
Virtual offices are now commonplace, especially if most of your customer interactions and transactions take place online. But with this change, we’ve realized that there are plenty of unique challenges that come with working with people that you don’t see face to face every day.
If you’re like most small-business owners, you want to streamline the way people communicate at your virtual office. Stronger communication leads to improved morale and fewer misunderstandings, which contributes to better performance in day-to-day operations. Plus, when your team works hard and works well together, your customers get top-notch service.
The bottom line is this — it’s nearly impossible for you to do your best if there are frequent communication breakdowns between individuals and departments. Our goal today is to help you organize the way you interact with everyone on your team so you can streamline communication and boost productivity.
Let’s get started.
Use defined key performance indicators (KPIs) and tools.
One common reason for miscommunications is people use different words to describe the same thing. It’s not easy to get your message across to someone when they don’t understand how you define specific work-related terms.
We suggest avoiding this problem altogether and establishing standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) and tools. Imagine how much easier it will be to talk to people from different departments when you’re both speaking the same technical language.
KPIs are essentially expectations for each team member. So, an employee that writes for your blog might keep track of how many articles they write each week. As you can imagine, this seemingly simple idea can branch out in many different ways across your various departments.
Similarly, talking about various tools can get overwhelming if team members are using two different pieces of software. If possible, buy bulk software plans and give everyone on your team a copy, so they are all working with the same tools and software.
Encourage team meetings.
Another way to streamline communication across your business is to encourage regular team meetings. Ideally, each department should meet up once a week to discuss their goals, potential roadblocks, and estimated progress.
We have a medium-sized team, and these gatherings last between 15-20 minutes. But the value we gain from chatting face to face each week is unmatched. These meetings allow us to get on the same page and sort out our plans for the week. As a result, we always know what needs to happen next.
You should also consider bringing everyone together once a month for a townhall-style meeting. Use this opportunity to share with your team the various updates and changes happening throughout the company.
The best way to streamline communication at your virtual office is to make sure everyone is in the loop. Team meetings help bridge this success gap and make it easier for groups of people to accomplish large tasks.
Invite team members to participate in extra activities.
Finally, we want to talk about the importance of getting to know your team beyond weekly meetings. Team building is absolutely vital to the success of your business and effective communication.
There are several ways you can invite members of your team to participate in extra activities.
For example, you could have a daily question in your Slack channel such as, “What’s your favorite food?” These simple prompts can lead to a much deeper discussion, especially if your team is from around the world and have unique food preferences.
We also suggest that you host activities that encourage your team to work together and grow. One of our favorite things to do is have a monthly webinar where one of our team members teaches the rest of our crew a new skill or technique. We’ve found these events to bring our team closer together, which is perfect for improving communication among different departments.
There are plenty of things you should take into consideration when streamlining the way people communicate in your virtual office. Use the tips we’ve outlined today to build a strong framework so people will have an easier time exchanging ideas and growing as a team.