Working remotely has brought about new challenges, and one of these is communication. Since leaders and their employees are no longer face-to-face, the possibility of getting lost in translation is much higher. If your company strategy does not include better communication, this could result in a regular communication vacuum between management and employees.

Communication has historically been a challenge in working environments, and was also a great challenge even pre-COVID-19, when people were working in the same room or in the same building. Now that employees are not to be found in the same room or building, in some cases, this challenge has magnified to unacceptable levels.

What can leaders do?

Business leaders and managers need to make sure that they are clear in handing down tasks and projects, always allocating these to a team member, along with a time for completion.

Just like C is for communication, C is for clarity. Leaders should not assume that their subordinates ‘know’ exactly what is needed of them, just because they spoke over a remote call. All tasks should be covered by electronic documents or, for example, shared Google Drive folders.

The following are a few guidelines for communication best practices :

  • Task or project title
  • Name of employee or team instructed to carry out that task
  • Estimated time needed to complete that task
  • Timelines expected for finalising or completing that task 
  • Which supervisor or team lead they should contact in case of issues

One common pitfall in leadership is when leaders ‘ASS-UME’ that they were clear in their verbal instructions, but failed to see that the monster of perception is real, and the interpretation of non-written communication could have terrible consequences!

Experience has taught us that having regular meetings online is synonymous with communication. So, even if the norm is now online meetings, these should be frequent and not far apart.

It is vital for leaders to make the employees aware that they can be approached freely, and like many top leaders adopt an ‘open office door’ policy, the same should apply via phone or chat platform.

Even if this is not a reality in most situations, if employees think or feel that they are not supported by their manager or leader, they might feel lost and lose drive. For strategies on how to keep staff motivated and communicating effectively, feel free to reach out.

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