Effective Remote Communication With Your Team: Do's and Don'ts
Remote communication becomes a real challenge for teams when done incorrectly. Get work done across timezones and geographical regions by increasing your understanding of remote communication methods.
Many teams move to remote work without updating their communication styles and expectations. Without adjustments, communication becomes ineffective. This causes stress, wastes time, and makes it harder for teams to get work done.
Knowing the “do’s” and “don’ts” of good communication in remote work is key to successfully adapting to changes in the workplace. Avoiding the “don’ts” and implementing the “do’s” helps your team collaborate easier and use communication strategies that work.
Shift your remote communication methods to something that works
You communicate and get work done differently when working remotely. Move to workflows that are more fitting for remote environments by leaving old habits behind.
Don’t: Work the same way that you did in the office. With remote work, you can’t always expect a direct answer or quick review from a team member. With added flexibility in your work schedule, you can optimize your schedule to best fit your projects, collaborators, and personal life. Since remote work lets you work at your own pace, schedule your day so you can get the most out of it.
Do: Share relevant information and be transparent. Remote work environments can be isolating so remember to be upfront about your feelings, workload, and experiences with team members. Being transparent can give everyone a better understanding of your workday.
Sharing information with your team
Nobody likes never-ending searches for important information or constantly having to reach out to team members to stay informed. Share updates, details and decisions in more effective to keep everyone involved and up to date.
Don’t: Over-rely on emails for communication. Long and messy email threads can get confusing quickly. Big email chains can also make it harder to document information, establish next steps, and include new people. Important details are easily available with shared documentation. No need to search through your inbox or schedule a meeting if information is easily accessible.
Do: Document as much as you can. Reliable and thorough documentation helps everyone stay in the loop. Team members and external partners can check the progress of projects or reference information without needing to be in touch all the time. When documentation is thorough, you can make sure that processes are in place for a range of different scenarios. Team members will also be able to find what they need when they need it.
Setting effective virtual meetings
Save meetings for the conversations that matter most. Being fatigued by never-ending Zoom meetings doesn't do your teams' productivity any good. Applying virtual meeting best practices can be a good start to fixing this.
Don’t: Schedule too many meetings. Virtual meetings, like their face-to-face counterparts, are time-consuming and unproductive when there are too many. Find other ways to keep other team members in the loop that don’t require them to spend valuable time in front of cameras.
Do: Set goals for meetings. Start meetings by outlining the goals that the meeting should achieve. Examples of meeting goals could be making a decision after a discussion or getting feedback on a project. Use one of our meeting agenda examples to get quickly get started. Reevaluate if a meeting is needed or not if you're having a hard time coming up with goals.
Trust is the foundation to effective remote work
Working remotely does not mean that nothing is getting done. Invasive surveillance strategies, micromanagement and continuous check-ups do your communication more harm than good.
Don’t: Bombard team members with constant messages. Messaging can be a quick way to get answers, but you should use more asynchronous work methods of communication and collaboration. With features and tools like task management, note taking, or files can be easy ways to update your team.
Do: Trust your team. To set expectations, note what goals you want to achieve and what projects you want to complete in a set time frame. Make sure that your team is empowered with tools that make it easier to do their work.
With remote work tools, you can track output (like tasks completed) as a metric instead of the number of hours worked. You can keep an eye on progress and get helpful high-level overviews without micromanaging team members.
Culture at the forefront of your communication
There are plenty of ways to encourage a healthy company culture, even with remote communication. While you might not see each other face-to-face there are still a lot of other ways to get in touch with, and stay connected to your team.
Don’t: Forget about the importance of good work culture. Working remotely doesn’t mean that your team can’t get to know each other. Find activities that connect team members, no matter where they are. These activities should give team members a chance to get to know each other better. Both asynchronous and synchronous ways of communication can be valuable for creating a supportive work culture.
Do: Celebrate victories. To help your team grow and stay engaged, make sure your team gets recognition for a job well done! Giving feedback is key to maintaining a supportive environment and will give you a chance to hear your team members’ thoughts and reactions.
Effective remote communication requires an adjustment from traditional communication styles. You're not in the office anyone, so the way you get work done can't stay the same.
When you keep these “do’s” and “don’ts” in mind, you and your team can cut down on stress, misunderstandings, and inefficient practices. That way, your communication can focus on what matters and boosts your productivity instead of bogging you down.