By Luke Smith
The novel coronavirus shook up the way many businesses handle the day-to-day. Wherever possible, employees shifted to remote work. In most cases, this has placed a greater emphasis on the need for quality communication and team training.
For team and project managers, this shift has highlighted weaknesses in team dynamics and post-pandemic processes. Time typically scheduled for events, meetings, and other tasks is now open for a larger focus on team communication.
Here’s where team leads should be focusing their efforts to improve team communication in a pandemic/remote-work world.
Focusing on Team Communication
It is the duty of project managers to lead their teams in reliable methods of communication. In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, this doesn’t just mean sending out a bunch of emails and hoping the content will stick. Instead, real-time strategies and team training programs can be employed to get your team functioning cohesively no matter the situation.
Here are some things you should do right away:
- Determine virtual team meeting spaces like Zoom or Google Meet.
- Establish protocols for various types of communication.
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and measurement tracking systems.
- Reassure your team and invite suggestions and feedback.
Managing risk and crises is all about managing communications. As a project leader, you need to set expectations employing software that the whole team can use to check-in and update each other on the state of projects and predetermined KPIs. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and many others offer the ability for instant chats between team members without the need for lengthy emails and delayed responses.
Additionally, communication in project management is dependent on the agility and forethought of the project manager. Plan ahead with established protocols for when to use different modes of communication to gather the team and set clear priorities.
The efficient monitoring of KPIs will make or break your team’s success as various members work remotely and in a rapidly changing environment. As a project lead, you need to define these indicators and begin an update protocol for each member of the team to report their statuses in keeping things running smoothly.
Shifting to Remote Teamwork
The shift to remote work can make keeping up on employees more difficult, but it doesn’t have to. With today’s technology, we can easily communicate in virtual meeting spaces and chat rooms, allowing for nearly everything that used to be handled in-office online.
As a project lead, you should familiarize yourself with remote working protocols, onboardings, and training sessions. Plenty of free online tools exist to help you with this, including management training on YouTube.
Use the time you might have used in planning events that can no longer happen to educate yourself on a new online environment so that you can give your employees tools to stay safe, comfortable, and productive.
Encouraging and Responding to Feedback
The final and arguably most essential aspect of team communication and training is the ability to respond and adjust to feedback from your team. Everyone knows feedback is important, but what project managers might not realize is how fundamental feedback can be in improving team productivity.
Conduct surveys on team training presentations and modules and newly implemented protocols to assess the satisfaction, productivity, and morale of your team. During these difficult times, mental health and focus can suffer as a result of everything going on in the world. Make sure your team has what they need to succeed and be willing to try out useful feedback suggestions.
A good team leader responds and adapts to feedback after giving their team the tools they need to maintain productivity and communication, even while working remotely. By focusing on team communication, training yourself and your team on new and remote work protocols, and listening to what your team members have to say, you can use the challenges of the coronavirus as a way to improve your team dynamics and communication techniques to succeed now and long after the pandemic.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college, he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics, but business and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.