As a manager, you may find yourself geographically separated from your team, whether they’re distributed or not. Communication may not something that you’re naturally good at from the start. Like anything, if you want to become skilled at something, you have to practice. The same goes for communication. Communicate often! Don’t let too much time pass. That includes email (when appropriate), phone, and in-person meetings.
Schedule regular check-ins with your team, both as a group and with individuals. You don’t necessarily have to have a lengthy agenda, and you may find it interesting to see where the conversation goes if you leave the agenda less formal. Over time, your team may come to you with fantastic ideas if you’re seen as open and receptive.
Love the 'informal' Scott. I sometimes have catch ups with people with no agenda or purpose. A virtual water cooler chat. Social. #wfhchat
— Ady Howes (@adyhowes) October 4, 2017
Be accessible. Martin gave out his home number, which you can do, but make sure you set parameters around when it’s okay to call, especially if you’re separated by many time zones. Especially during “normal” business hours, make an effort to be responsive when your team needs you. You may be the roadblock that’s preventing progress somewhere, and by being responsive, you can not become an obstacle yourself.
A2: A permie job I had saw team split between ?? ?? and?? …plenty of Skype sessions, and give out home number…. be accessible. #wfhchat
— Martin (@martin5671) October 4, 2017
Lastly, when you’re working with your team, take the time to share non-work things with them. This personal touch can go a long way, and you don’t have to share more than you’re comfortable with, obviously. Think about things that may interest people on your team, too, and share those things when you email, chat or talk. When you strip the work away, we’re all people, after all. Getting to know each other better will help strengthen your professional interactions.
A4: I like to share non-work things with them. Not excessively, but enough to have that personal touch #wfhchat
— Scott Dawson (@scottpdawson) June 7, 2017