Guest post by Rose Janeson, written exclusively for CloudVO.
To accommodate their employees’ diverging preferences regarding work environments, more companies have been implementing hybrid work models. As revealed in CNBC’s report on work in 2021, 32% of companies said that they would implement in-person employment models, while 45% said that they would lead a hybrid workforce. The hybrid setup allows workers to enjoy the flexibility of remote work without closing them off to opportunities for face-to-face connections.
However, the hybrid setup has its challenges. The flaws of remote work, namely disjointed communication, are still present. Therefore, to make sure teams remain cohesive under a hybrid working environment, companies need to take a proactive approach toward promoting employee communication. Training programs, team-building exercises, and opportunities for informal communication can all help employers improve communication in hybrid teams.
Provide Coworking Spaces
Meeting in person won’t guarantee that your employees will create connections. However, placing them in a physical space specifically designed for connection can encourage employees to interact with one another more often. Today’s office needs to be dynamic and make connecting easy through meeting rooms and technology tools that encourge collaboration. Our Workspace Search can help you find a coworking space near your location. With a Coworking Membership, your employees can interact with other professionals, thus getting a chance to hone their verbal communication skills.
Invest in Communication Tools
Talking to employees exclusively over email can feel a little impersonal. Messages might even be a little harder to sift through. The same goes if you use instant messaging platforms such as Facebook. Employees might not want to use the same platforms for both work discussions and personal conversations. Consequently, it’s best to invest in an internal messaging system. Platforms like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Workplace by Facebook can give your company an organized channel for communication. This way, everybody stays connected and updated on their roles, assignments, and progress.
Launch Mentorship Programs on Communication
A good mentorship program can help employees understand subjects like communication on a much deeper level. As explained by leadership expert Leilani Carver-Madalon, creating a quality relationship with a mentor can help build a foundation for success. According to Madalon, students learn better from close mentor relationships because mentors can provide a perspective based on experience and guide students toward individual growth. Carver-Madalon directs the communications program at Maryville University, and also heads a mentorship course on women’s leadership, which teaches skills like confidence building, public speaking, and salary negotiation. Both the program that she manages as well as the course she oversees aim to empower individuals to better communicate their interests, encouraging them to create more positive relationships with co-workers. Eventually, this will make them more effective leaders.
If you plan on investing in an employee mentorship program, it should include communications training. Aside from public speaking and confidence building, these programs can teach employees how to effectively get their point across verbally and in writing. Teaching employees conscious listening can also help them become more receptive to feedback and improve communication flow throughout the whole workplace.
Plan Team-Building Events
Partner with organizers and host a team-building event to allow your employees to find common ground between one another outside of work. Ben Hoffman, CEO of team building company cityHUNT, explains how team building organizers can use psychological research to create collaborative activities in order to turn groups of individuals into cohesive teams. A team-building exercise can be anything from a group scavenger hunt to a cooking class to a beach outing.
By giving your employees chances to interact with one another in competitive, collaborative, and casual settings, you let them get to know one another, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what drives them. Their deepened bond will strengthen their trust in each other, consequently promoting more effective communication.
Secure workplace communication ensures that everybody in the organization is on the same page. To improve communication in the workplace, not only do you need to help your employees develop verbal and written skills, you also need to provide them with opportunities for interactions in both professional and non-professional settings.
Looking for ways to connect your hybrid team? Check out the services we offer for distributed workers at CloudVO.