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Here you’ll find anything that I think is engaging, a great example of communication or just downright useful. With an occasional smattering of complete nonsense just because it made me laugh and I hope will brighten your day too.

16th December 2020

Tips for communicating with your dispersed team: Get a bit of face time with everyone

I’m not just talking about FaceTime here – talking to people face to face is really important. Try and get everyone on camera. I’ve worked with teams in the past where people just use an avatar or just have a box with their name.  Personally I don’t think this should be allowed, that’s how important it is we can see each other. If we can’t, there is a suspicion about what that person could be hiding.

If you have got somebody in your team who is really, really against being on camera, talk to them one-to-one and find out why. Maybe get them some training if necessary. Understand what it is that is causing their discomfort. They may feel that their home-working environment isn’t suitable to be on camera, so maybe help them think about what they could put in the background, backdrops, etc. Try to avoid allowing hiding to go on because it could turn into a trust issue.

Ask your team members how they like to be communicated wit.  If they prefer stuff to be in writing it may be easier for them to work with you on instant messenger or by email, with face to face calls only once a week, for instance.  Some people thrive on camera, but others do not.  When it comes to one to one interactions, try and find the channel that suits your team member the best.  Overall meetings and larger sessions are best done on zoom, for example, as it can be difficult to make group decisions on a messaging app, but it can be different for one-to-one meetings.

I would also encourage everyone to be in touch with one another, not just with you.  The team needs to be cohesive – you need to feel they’ve got colleagues, and that they’re not just reporting to you but have responsibilities to each other as well.  Encourage them.  Maybe a virtual coffee, maybe a virtual lunch or virtual beers, where you choose a time when everyone congregates online with their drink of choice. Keep up the chatter that would happen in a usual office environment – How’s your week been?  What’s been good, what hasn’t worked, what you’re up to over the weekend?  Be aware if you are working with an international team that time zones can be tricky and one person’s beers are the other person’s breakfast coffee – behave accordingly, but make sure that those people who are working overseas are included.  Again, the time spent face to face will be worth it.

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