Keep your remote team from underperforming or being inefficient while working remotely. Knowing how to effectively communicate with remote workers will help you produce consistently stellar work results.
webcastingandvirtualevents.com gathered the following information and tips on improving remote communication with your team.
What is Remote Communication?
Where “local communication” pertains to a device or file accessed directly from your system, without using a communications line, “remote communication” is a way or standard of communicating direction, orders, and expectations with others online. Meetings, information, guidance, and training materials can be shared over the internet and stored for reference in the cloud. Forward-thinking companies are creating virtual teams that seamlessly communicate and collaborate online (without requiring shared office space).
As with any other process, there are ways to improve or streamline your remote communication with team members. Consider the following:
1. Build Better Connections
Don’t overlook or ignore opportunities to build better connections with your teammates. Take time to connect by asking people about their day and encouraging them to check in on each other. This will help boost team morale and significantly improve employee satisfaction.
2. Use a Timer During Video and Conference Calls
When you conduct virtual meetings, it’s easy to run out of time before everyone can contribute to the conversation or vocalize their concerns.
A timer is a great tool to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak. When scheduling the virtual call, and creating the agenda, assign defined amounts of time for each topic you plan to cover; you can also assign specific times for feedback.
Use your timer during the meeting to keep it on track and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute ideas.
Tip: A timer should only be used as a guide. Don’t stop engaging discussions or great brainstorming because the timer ran out (the timer is there to help guide and insert order to the meeting, not dissuade collaboration).
3. Update Your Remote Communication/Collaboration Software
Remote team communication tools, project management tools, and document management tools can be industry-specific or integrated into operating systems. Whatever the tool, it should be frequently updated to continuously meet your team’s communication requirements.
Tip: When features or capabilities are updated or added to your software, schedule training or learning sessions with your team to resolve questions, difficulties, and doubts.
4. Communicate Clearly
Remote work is inherently different from office work (for obvious reasons). In a remote setting, casual interferences or quick clarifiers are unavailable for your team. With this in mind, your team communication must be precise and concise.
5. Adjust to Asynchronous Communication
By nature, in-person communication is instantaneous. When you speak to a colleague during a presentation or in the cafeteria, their reply is in real-time.
When communicating with a colleague of a remote team, their reply is not always immediate. When a communication is sent without the expectation of an instantaneous response, it’s called asynchronous communication (vs. real-time synchronous communication). Using team communication tools, project management systems, or email allows time between the two sides of a conversation.
There are significant benefits to this which include fewer workflow interruptions and more time to articulate a thoughtful response. However, for teams unfamiliar with this correspondence flow, their adjustment may require time and practice.
6. Trust Your Team
Many managers succeed in a one-on-one office environment because they are face-to-face with their employees. They can walk over, check in on them, ask for updates, etc. If there is a problem, managers can quickly hold a meeting to discuss and resolve it.
When a team is remote, these dynamics no longer apply. With employees out of sight, managers may feel the urge to frequently message team members for updates on a task. Not only would managers be taking up employees’ time to constantly send updates, but such interruptions will likely lead to inefficiencies, impacting their focus and performance.
7. Establish Regular Check-ins
Regular check-ins build connections between colleagues and help maintain the workflow. Check-ins can be video calls, written reports, or individual responses to a specific question.
A robust check-in process ensures everyone is working well, understands what everyone else is doing with intersections clearly understood, and no one is overtasked with work.
BONUS – Establish Communication Guidelines
Don’t assume that everything will be right as rain once your team has the right tools. Effective communication in remote teams doesn’t automatically happen. Establish specific guidelines for your team on how to use your organization’s tools and parameters for remote communication.
This helps everyone on your team avoid common mistakes like:
- Including everyone in an email or text thread meant for one person
- Slow responses
- Using the wrong program or device for communications
The guidelines you establish should determine how, when and where communication occurs. Also, consider potential differences in time zones when constructing these rules.
Note: It’s significantly easier to work together when everyone is on the same page.
Remote Business Communications
In this article, you discovered 7 ways to improve communication methods, skills, and frequency between you and your remote team.
By improving everyone’s communication, company/business tasks will be more efficiently accomplished with less confusion and doubts.
Poor lines of communication and processes for your remote team can lead to missed deadlines, undesired project results and wasted funds.