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New forms of communication technology have enabled an increasing number of businesses to successfully operate on a global scale, feeding multiple markets with one business model. However, I have found that, despite being equipped with the latest tools to communicate through text, voice and video, managing people in different time zones and on different schedules can be challenging without meeting them face-to-face. Here are my three fundamental considerations to take into account to maintain communication within an expanding international business.

  1. Make communication a regular and structured occurrence
In a growing team, it is important to ensure dedicated time is made for regular one-to-ones and group meetings so that everyone has the opportunity to provide input. At Weroom, with offices in different locations and time zones, meetings start and finish on time and everyone is expected to respect that schedule. For each meeting I host, I strive to set a clear agenda to optimise each person’s time. Meeting outcomes need to be crystal clear. Upon leaving the room, each meeting attendee should know what the next steps are, who is taking ownership for them, and what the deadline is. In addition, when I receive a meeting invitation, I always carefully consider whether my presence at this meeting is an optimal use of my time. Declining an invitation and participating in an ongoing project through other means are sometimes necessary to better manage my schedule and be more productive.
  1. Set a framework for communication outside meetings
While some pressing topics cannot wait for the next meeting, productivity is adversely affected by those all too frequent and unnecessary interruptions. To encourage open communication in between scheduled catch ups, we use Slack, a mobile communication app, to maintain the various conversations that are taking place within departments. This also avoids the hassle of typing long explanatory emails. To keep everyone in the loop on important general issues, we centralise all team updates on Google docs. This establishes a clear processes and protocol and provides the best channel for internal communication, which greatly increases productivity in between meetings - when face to face correspondence is not possible.
  1. Value informal communication
While technology certainly enhances communication, I never underestimate the value of face-to-face quality time. At Weroom, I value the opportunity to spend time with colleagues who work on other sites. I regularly travel to our head office in Paris and when I am there, I’ll make it a priority to have lunch, after work drinks, or dinner with the team. This encourages communication outside the workspace and helps us bond on a personal level.

Maintaining smooth internal communication in a growing business is well worth the effort. Increasing employee engagement, resolving problems faster and delivering excellent customer service are some of the many benefits that can be reaped from effective communication.

By Chloe Marienbach, UK Country Manager of Weroom.com