Balance real-time (live) communication with other tools
Just as in-person work consists of both face-to-face (i.e. meetings) and written communications (i.e. email), working virtually needs to transition between these. To avoid creating an “always-on” mentality, and help your team find the right balance, have an internal discussion board or email thread for non-urgent communications.
Share important information through multiple channels
Important decisions, targets and announcements are great to share in a live chat, but make sure they're also placed in a static location for future reference. Use a combination of different platforms such as real-time meetings, email updates and internal message boards to share with your team. This ensures that no one misses key details or next steps. It's also a good idea to create and document your process for sharing key information, so you are all on the same page.
Set up channels for informal 'water-cooler” conversations
An article in LinkedIn suggests that leaders who intentionally create spaces for informal interactions can help their teams embrace the shift to remote work more quickly. Set up a Zoom room for drop-in opportunities to connect throughout the day, coordinate coffee breaks, or set up an online forum dedicated to casual conversation topics (books, movies, weekend plans, etc.). For example, our Engineering Student Centre team is using a “Trello Board” to share pictures of working from home, cute “coworkers" and personal successes.
Prioritize audio-visual over audio-only communications
Creating a “video-first” culture can help remote team members feel connected, maintain a sense of daily routine, and foster communication by enabling one another to pick-up on non-verbal cues and body language.
Expect technology glitches
Your team may be feeling added stress when it comes to navigating new technologies, delivering virtual presentations or having a family member or pet interrupt a video call. Leaders can help their team embrace the (often awkward) transition to videoconferencing by ensuring they have access to remote IT support, providing how-to resources or training for online communication tools, and adding a few minutes to scheduled meetings to allow time for attend to connection glitches or unexpected situations at home.