How to improve team communication for offsite team members?
Empowering all team member to be vocal and ask questions when they do not understand tasks assigned and communicate with other team members for advice and guidance when stuck on assignments. Team members are located at different locations, therefore reaching out to others may be necessary.
There needs to be communication with team members at each location and between locations. Using all forms of communnication is critical depending on the nature of the business. With technology today, using email, teleconferences, and web-conferences can be used to keep the team dynamic and keep up the team communication if the in person communication is not possible based on location.
If it is made aware by all team members that any questions or concerns should be brought to attention immediately, and team members have an 'open door policy' even for eletronic communication, your team members should be willing and able to use that form of communication. Also, Supervisors need to ream out to team members on a regualr basis as well to keep up that communication, so that 'open door policy' is kept up with.
Great points. Seems like you have experience with multiple operations.
It's nice to mix in some actual face-to-face if and when possible but, as you have pointed out, broad-based, cost-effective access to technology is making it much easier to communicate with off-site team members.
The new challenge is ensuring that you engage all participants with all forms of these virtual meetings.
You are correct. Open communication is critical in managing off-site team members.
As a leader, you have to be readily available when team members reach out, as many school issues are time-sensitive.
It is also critical to establish a culture of trust and support to encourage 360 degree communication for your team and your entire organization.
I had a situation where I worked with a team online. It was very hard to get a temperament of the team members with just emails and a forum. We had a conference call and it seem to make the team more cohesive. It was def a reassessment for my team to complete the project.
I think this is a good question - and an indicator of the evolving world of modern business. As more and more folks telecommunite - teams are spread over states instead of offices.
I find it difficult to communicate with offsite team members at times. I try to ask each instructor how they prefer to be contacted. For some it's a phone call, for others, it's a text message and for others it's email. I find I get better responses with each person's preferred method of contact.
I agree it is very important to find the best way to communicate with your team members, but what about those times when the team members do not respond to your calls, or emails, or texts. What if the person you are trying to contact is unavailable? How do you help your team understand that if one way doesn't work, try another.
There are times when off site team members are unable to communicate and times when the leader is also unable to communicate. How do you get off site team members to try alternative methods of communication?
While I try to be available at all times for my team, if I am teaching, I tend to leave my phone in my office. Since the students are not to use their cell phones in class, I feel like I am trying to provide an example that they are important and I do not wish to interrupt them. As soon as I get back to my office, I often make calls back to anyone who called me during class time. It isn't always easy and sometimes unavoidable that I am not able to get back with them as soon as they would like me to. How can I change that?
You can have a web meeting for those who can not attend in person. There are several methods available and even conference calls are easy to do.
Good suggestions. Web meeting tools such as Go to Meeting are free and increase the interactivity dramatically. Skype is also a good way to incorporate video into meetings at no cost. Conference calls are a good fall back strategy, but there is nothing better to help you connect to your team members than being able to see them or at least share your screen with them.
Thanks for your response.