5 best practises for communicating with remote overseas employees

We’re kicking off our Global Inclusion Week series with best practises for communicating with remote employees

Many of us have the flexibility to work remotely and that can often include working overseas – both short-term and long-term. Global teams have become the norm, particularly since the pandemic, and it’s increasingly important for those colleagues to feel well-connected, supported and included in the wider business.

If you manage overseas employees, here are some good habits and reminders to help you maintain positive working relationships despite the physical distance.

Create a trusting environment

Being micromanaged at work can leave your colleagues feeling frustrated, disengaged and lacking in confidence. It’s important to create an environment where your colleagues feel trusted to manage their time and workload wherever they are. Focus on empowering them to do their best work and communicate that you are there to support them in a way that works for them. This may look like more frequent video calls or 121 check-ins to build a rapport and celebrate their wins. Your colleagues will appreciate the autonomy you give them and the extra effort to make them feel valued for their contributions.

Prioritise company culture

Your overseas colleagues need to feel part of the bigger picture, especially as they aren’t around in the office or at team events for those casual chats and interactions. Keep them in the loop about how your company is moving forwards, creating new opportunities for people and striving to create an inclusive and rewarding culture. Belonging is one of the key drivers of employee wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Facilitate new connections

Loneliness and feeling disconnected from colleagues are both common challenges for remote workers. One way to help your overseas colleagues build friendships is to connect them with colleagues in their local area or region. If you have other teams locally or colleagues visiting that destination for work, connect them to each other. It’s also worth taking time to set up social groups, discussion forums and virtual networking opportunities to remove any barriers to making new connections – such as time differences, languages, and physical distance.

Respect boundaries

When you’re communicating with remote employees, be mindful of different time zones, public holidays and ways of working in other countries and cultures. It might seem like an obvious observation, but it can be easy to forget how important personal boundaries and common courtesy is. You may only have a few working hours a day that overlap, so small considerations like sign-posting important updates they may have missed, encouraging a healthy work-life balance, and avoiding sending emails after hours can make all the difference.

Top tip: keep up to date with the news in whatever country or region they’re based in, so that you can talk about current events and show awareness of issues that could affect their wellbeing.

Keep open lines of communication

Lastly, and most importantly, make a conscious effort to communicate clearly and frequently with your overseas colleagues. Have open discussions about expectations and communication styles early on so you both know how to navigate this work arrangement. Make the best use of your internal communications channels, whether that’s on Teams or via email, and keep your colleagues in the loop. Set up regular chats or check-in via internal channels like Slack and be prepared to go the extra mile for these colleagues. It may take a little more effort to create these ‘touch points’, but it will also give you a better sense of the environment in which they’re working and help you manage your colleagues effectively.

Need a hand with your internal communications? Check out our copywriting services to see how we can help you.

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