MENLO PARK—A lack of communication between staff and management is the most frequent misstep companies make in managing their teams. And that goes for virtual office workers as well as in-house personnel.

So says a survey from Accountemps. The good news is, it's an easy mistake to fix. Just communicate. It’s even easier with virtual office technologies that help you blast out updates, memos, notices and other communication with a few clicks.

But there’s another common mistake that could hurt your virtual workforce: Lack of recognition and praise. Twenty-eight percent of respondents cited this as a problem. Other issues include lack of training, development, and/or educational opportunities (11%), lack of flexibility in work schedules (8%), and lack of authority given to employees (6%).

"Employees want to be kept in the loop and feel appreciated," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit For Dummies. "An organization can only be successful if its employees have the information and support they need to do their jobs well and a forum for two-way communication."

So whether your employees work in virtual offices or right under your nose, consider Messmer’s tips for talking with employees.

1. "Here's what's happening." Whether it's updates on the company's financial performance, department initiatives or group projects, keep staff abreast of organizational information that affects them and their responsibilities.

At Davinci, we believe keeping people in the dark will lead to tension and rumors, especially with virtual office workers.

2. "Do you have what you need?"
Take the time to find out if your team members have the right resources to perform their work effectively.

At Davinci, we believe virtual office technologies like web conferencing tools could be a good move for some companies that have distributed workforces.

3. "Thank you." Thank and praise staff who go above and beyond. Call attention to successes by highlighting them in staff meetings and sending a groupwide e-mail recognizing those who helped and copying relevant managers.

At Davinci, we have fun with our employees through our Facebook account. We provide recognition and create a strong culture of worker value.

4. "What challenges are you facing?" Often, employees are hesitant to voice concerns when problems arise. It's essential to proactively ask staff members what's going on and how you may be able to help.

5. "How can we improve the company?"
Invite staff members to suggest things they can do to help achieve business objectives. You may be pleased to discover how innovative and resourceful your employees are.