Managing Communications with a Virtual Workforce
The move to remote work and virtual employees is continuing to grow. Businesses in all industries are allowing staff members to have more flexibility about when and where they work. However, this new trend is not without its share of challenges, especially for those who are managing this changing workforce.
One of the biggest challenges is maintaining clear communication between staff members, departments and managers. No longer can you call everyone into a conference room for a quick meeting and explain everything one time.
Managers may set up web conferences where everyone gets together over their computers or they may send out emails or other messages to provide important information. If people work from various parts of the country or even internationally, the challenge is even greater with different time zones.
To handle this challenge, managers must develop consistent procedures about communication. He or she should know when employees are available and how to schedule meetings that work for the majority.
When hiring from outside the immediate physical location of the company, you must also consider clarity of communication. Someone from the Northeast may have trouble understanding the strong Southern accent from someone in Georgia. A manager in California may misunderstand what an employee in North Dakota is trying to say.
If you think it is difficult to understand different dialects in person, imagine how much harder it is over the phone or the internet. That is one reason you should have an agenda with written documents to support the main points of your meeting. Once the meeting is concluded, you can send out a follow-up email so that everyone knows what was discussed even if they had trouble following along.
While the various dialects within a country can cause difficulties with communication, it becomes an even bigger issue for international employees. If you plan to host a lot of meetings with your global staff, you may want to consider hiring a speech coach in Los Angeles to help you reduce your accent. You can learn to speak clearly and with very little trace of an accent so that your staff members will have an easier time understanding what you say. This reduces the risk of errors and miscommunication and increases effectiveness within your company.
An accent reduction coach in Los Angeles can teach you proper enunciation of words and how to avoid slang and regional talk. Even if you don’t think you use informal terms in your speech, you might be surprised at the corrections an expert will help you make.
Managing a virtual staff requires that you maintain good communication with all members regardless of where they live. If you have policies and procedures in place that help everyone stay up to date about their projects and tasks, you will find that a virtual workforce works well for your company. Remember that communication is the key to success when people are working together, but it is even more essential when they are working separately.
Claudette Roche is a dialect coach in the Los Angeles area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives. In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.