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In Communicado

Does everyone in your office work 9-5 at their desk, Monday through Friday? Many offices have that every day, but some, like Your Clear Next Step, have flexible hours and remote workers. Keeping in contact with them can sometimes be a bit challenging since they’re not always a cubicle away. But communication is key, and without face-to-face interaction, misunderstandings can crop up. Everyone has different circumstances, and the solutions to each can be vastly different from one another, but here’s a few things that have worked for us to help coworkers stay in-communicado, not incommunicado. 


Establish the Avenues of Communication 

Perhaps a bit obvious, but it’s helped us go a long way. There are many platforms out there for workplace interaction, so narrowing down the list can be greatly beneficial. You can even take it a step further, and quantify which platforms are for certain actions. 

For example: 

  • Email – For introductions to clients/new coworkers, sharing new leads, and beginning new projects. 
  • Microsoft Teams – Quick questions, Personal messages, and Internal meetings. 
  • Zoom – External meetings with clients and training courses. 

These are just some of the ways that Your Clear Next Step uses its three primary platforms for communication, and it’s proved to be a good system. They aren’t strict rules, but rather broad ideas that we have strived to generally stick to. Sometimes, last minute projects get sent through Teams or internal meetings come through Zoom, but we try to keep to our established norms. 

We also strive to let new team members know where we are best reached, and many other YCNS employees do so as well. Some check their email religiously; others are always on Teams. That way, communication proceeds especially quickly and smoothly, with no one having to go out of their way to reach someone else. 


Keep a Predictable Schedule 

Some employees have unorthodox schedules, but they’re just as valuable as anyone else in our organizations. Part-timers, night shifts, starting work late to take care of your kids in the morning, no matter what, we should all still know when and how to reach each other. Perhaps a coworker lives in a different time zone, is there a time of day or even just a weekday that everyone is available and the schedules overlap? Or at the very least, is there documentation of their normal hours, so that we can find a time to reach out that works for them? By staying on top of when everyone works, we can keep the communication flowing. 


Be Available 

The last thing I say in every interaction with employees, especially new employees, is “You know where to find me!” or “Let me know if there’s anything you need!” I want them to know that if they need anything at all, they can come to me. Teams or email, rain or shine. 

I want them to ask clarifying questions when they’re stuck, or even just let me know when they’ve completed a task (we call that closing the loop!) Making sure they aren’t afraid to ask questions and give status reports can go a long way to continuing open and continuous communication. 


Have A “Coffee” 

A system I have long encouraged among YCNS staff is the idea of 15-minute “coffees,” little personal meetings between two members of the staff, where you take some time to just connect with one another. Not just with virtual employees, I believe this works just as well between in-person co-workers too, and helps foster a sense of community and allows employees who can’t just say “Hi!” around the office build a human connection with their peers, which can help bolster confidence in their communication. 


Ensuring that communication is flowing between everyone is the first step in making sure work is flowing too, and then we’ll have a tight-knit team working hard together, even if they are far apart. But that’s just the beginning. I trust that you can take the clear next step. Are you ready?






Topics: Sinikka Waugh, Communication & Collaboration

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!








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