Running a business that can work without can feel terrifying as you leave aspects of your business to virtual workers that you don’t deal with in person. At first, the insecurity of not having them physically in your office may tempt you to do the most inefficient forms of work – micromanagement. But you can cut out all the time wasted looking over their shoulders if you are able to communicate well with your workers. Effective communication will keep you up to date with important manners efficiently, but it will also keep your workers accountable, feeling trusted, and able to reach their KPIs.
We will discuss the best practices that you can apply in your business in order to deal with virtual workers, and how to implement them so well that your business can run even without you!
Video vs. Voice vs. Chat
Which is best? It depends. In short, the most effective communication methods in order is: video call, voice call, and then other written forms (like email and messaging). But this is not a hard and fast rule so there are pros and cons to all but we will break it down for you.
Selecting the right tool for communication can be tricky as there are many dependencies that you need to take into consideration. For example, if you are not in front of your computer, schedule a voice chat with your worker instead of video as it can get distracting if you’re outside of your office. Another example is if the task involves processes that are not easily understood, then, be sure to write them in an E-mail so, your worker can review the instructions over and over again and you can both discuss it via video or voice chat later. Also, in cases where the task needs to be done immediately, deliver the instructions through video, voice or through a messaging tool. This way, they can be dealt with urgently compared to e-mail where it can cause a delay.
A little note for Video and Voice Calls
For most occasions, video is the #1 way of communicating with virtual workers. You build rapport, convey your message more accurately with facial expressions and tones, and create a sense of focus between you and your worker. Video calls obviously take more effort to do, so it is important that you schedule these meetings in advance so that both you and your worker are respecting each other’s time and effort. Simply send an e-mail or message to notify them of when you’d wish to speak and aim to schedule this regularly if possible.
Setting ground rules for the video call are incredibly useful and severely underused – be clear that during this time, it is a no-distractions zone. No distracting noises like TVs, children, or even any of your staff walking in and out. It’s all about promoting respect and focus to make the most of your time. And remember, this is a two-way street! You, too, should abide by these rules to show your virtual worker respect but also set the clear standard.
Use noise-cancelling headsets when you can to prevent unnecessary noises taking over your call – this is especially advantageous when you are in a home office environment with kids around or even if there’s construction outside your location.
These same rules apply for the second-best form of communication – calls. These have the benefit of being slightly easier to set up, but you do lose the opportunity to gage each other’s reactions from facial expressions so calls shouldn’t be treated as an overall replacement!
Rules for All Forms of Communication
Getting your message across is so important as this generates understanding between you and your virtual workers.
- English may not be the first language that they have so, it’s better for you to speak clearly and carefully
- Simply words are best for clarity – but also remember that slang can get confusing!
- Keep your meetings short but on point
- If there are multiple workers in the call, speak one person at a time
- Confirm if everyone understands what has been discussed
- Ask for feedback
Communicating with virtual workers through a call differs from one employer to another. It can be done daily such as a five to ten-minute calls to get an idea as to the remote workers’ workload, issues or questions that they may have. This would help you get an idea of where everyone is and they would get a vision of where they are as part of your business. At the same time, you can call them daily or weekly to provide them with tasks and directions on what they need to do for that day or week.
Feedback is very important in communicating effectively with your team as we believe that communication is not a one-way street. If you provide them with frank and constructive feedback, this would show them what they are doing and how they should be doing. This way, you will be able to guide and foster their development as a team member of your business who goes beyond what you could even imagine. This is also important because it fosters the bond between the employer and the employee.
With the different ways of communicating with your remote workers, it’s important to achieve a certain attitude in order to make you succeed in outsourcing your business. Be sure to spend some quality time talking and connecting with them regularly in order to achieve the desired results.
When you schedule a call with your virtual workers, set a time that is convenient to both of you and start on time. However, if you are suddenly unavailable for the scheduled call, be sure to inform them as soon as you can. Always postpone appropriately if you can! These actions show your respect for their time and effort. Meanwhile, if you’re using E-mail, consider how your message would be interpreted by your remote workers and be as clear as you can when you send one out.
Overall, having effective forms of communication within your team is crucial to running your business without you. So, be sure to constantly measure how well you and your virtual workers communicate with one another – keep the good ones and weed out the bad ones – and be ready to gain a business that thrives on success.