Perhaps the most fundamental distinction between how you interact in the workplace and how you communicate remotely is that the latter must be purposeful to be successful. Your deliberate efforts to build successful communication practices in your remote team will be rewarded.
Communication in the absence of in-person meetings
In this blog article, we’ll go through the most common obstacles of distant communication and how to overcome them. We’ll also provide a list of tools that your remote teams will find helpful. After reading this article, you’ll be able to introduce the most excellent remote communication strategies. It is essential, however, that you remember to document your company’s communication methods. Make a section in your organization’s knowledge base/workspace with guidelines on how individuals should communicate. Additionally, make a list of the tools they will require. During the onboarding process, ensure that new hires read this document/page.
Furthermore, don’t let it become stale. You and your staff must address these communication methods regularly and make changes as appropriate. During sprint retrospectives, if you’re a project manager, you can talk about remote team communication.
WHAT IS REMOTE COMMUNICATION?
Remote communication is an encompassing word for the numerous types of digital communication remote employees use to interact with their colleagues to complete work. The most common kinds of remote communication range from simple technologies such as email, chat, intranets, video conferencing, and work collaboration tools to all-encompassing remote work ecosystems such as unified digital workplace platforms. Effective communication is the foundation of any functional team. More so, it is crucial for remote teams that do not meet frequently.
Consider all of the ways employees may engage with their coworkers when they share an office. They attend typical meetings, brainstorming sessions, hook up with coworkers in the break room, or stroll up to a colleague’s desk to clear up some confusion. But how can you build all of these crucial relationships when you don’t work in the same office as your team members and have practically no direct face-to-face interactions? Communication might be challenging to achieve in distant teams, but it is not impossible. When done effectively, good communication may bring remote teams closer together and boost cooperation.
REMOTE TEAM COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE:
It is already tricky for distant employees to collaborate, and communication may become a significant stumbling block for many businesses if not performed correctly. Work suffers when communication breaks down, and people feel separated from their colleagues. As team members’ connections deteriorate, so does their morale, which directly impacts their performance.
Remote teams confront a variety of communication issues, including:
- Little to no contact with the rest of the team members.
- Varying working hours because people work in various time zones.
- Technical constraints such as a bad internet connection and a lack of communication tools.
- Over-communication with the entire staff, resulting in no work-life balance.
- Disputes among team members as a result of misunderstood communications.
HOW TO LEAD TEAMS WHILE WORKING REMOTELY?
When working with remote teams, bigger team sizes can sometimes limit performance and efficiency. Begin by forming groups inside your teams. This will allow for more coherent work to be completed. You may divide the sections depending on the projects they are working on, the sort of work they are doing, or any other acceptable criterion that fits that team and your organization. Each of these sub-teams has a leader who is in control and accountable for the job they accomplish. This aids in assigning duties and provides them with some freedom. They can then proceed with their work without having to wait for reverts and approvals. This finally results in the removal of bottlenecks, the acceleration of workflows, and the completion of tasks. Teams become more structured and are able to work with fewer dependencies, resulting in increased productivity.
HOW CAN REMOTE TEAMS IMPROVE COMMUNICATION?
1. CLEAR COMMUNICATION PLANS:
A communications strategy is critical to the success of any remote work arrangement. The first step is to choose a single platform that can manage all of your communication and collaboration demands. For instance, employees’ knowledge of remote work regulations, attendance at meetings, digital team activities, planning efforts, and so forth. These should be the focal points of your remote work communications strategy.
A unified digital workplace platform is the greatest option for implementing your remote work communications strategy since it includes all of the features and analytic tools you’ll need to make it a success.
2. MESSAGES SHOULD BE CONCISE AND CLEAR:
Body language adds context to your comments in face-to-face talks. Without any verbal and visual indicators, such as body language or facial expressions, to discern context, your communications may come out as unpleasant, terse, or just insensitive. Try to convey your message’s intent in as few words as possible. Your messaging should not be too complicated or wordy for your team members to comprehend. Before sending your message, you should also examine its tone. If there is even a remote possibility that your message can be misconstrued, it is important to clear the air and explain yourself. You may also use emojis to provide context to your communications.
3. VIRTUAL SPACE:
It’s simple to get to know your coworkers when you work in a real workplace. After all, you spend the majority of your week together, working side by side, eating lunch together, and talking about the mundane. However, with remote teams that just chat about work, it can be tough to get to know your teammates, leading to problems with team communication and cooperation. That is why you should set up a virtual water cooler location for your team where everyone may gather for non-work-related chats. It might be anything from cat GIFs to a humorous essay you read on the internet.
With recent technology advancements, remote work provides strong tools for monitoring that may rapidly become burdensome if you over-communicate expectations to staff. Several studies have found that Agile work practices are the best option for remote work models. Instead of checking in too frequently and being pushy about performance, it is critical to instill a feeling of responsibility in employees. Employees will rather conduct their tasks at optimal efficiency than wait about answering questions about ongoing work during meetings that eat up their time if given the option.
5. COMMUNICATION GAPS:
When hybrid teams are involved, remote work communication can become quite tricky. When some of your workers work outside the office, they have better access to resources, connections, and relationships with decision-makers. Remote employees may not have the same luxury because they are in different time zones and may receive delayed replies from team members. It is critical to solving this communication gap by implementing initiatives such as buddy programs where remote and in-office employees may engage and create stronger rapport, resulting in improved communication.
6. TACKLE THE CHALLENGES:
Globally distributed teams encounter several problems. One of the most significant of these difficulties is the dispersion of staff across time zones and the resulting communication delays. Other obstacles that develop include language hurdles, cultural barriers, and the difficulty of bridging gaps caused by these concerns. Nonetheless, managing internationally distributed teams is considerably simpler now than it was even five years ago, owing to a plethora of tools and unified platforms that enable distant teams to engage, communicate, and cooperate in far better ways than ever before.
7. REMOTE WORK COMMUNICATION TOOLS:
When there are too many communication tools, there are too many sites for individuals to share information. Employees are more likely to miss communications when interactions spread across different platforms. Employees may become overwhelmed if they get communication from all directions. Remote teams should have synchronous and asynchronous communication tools.
A DIGITAL WORKPLACE IS A CENTRALIZED COMMUNICATION PLATFORM FOR ALL REMOTE TEAM MEMBERS
Even if you try to use separate tools for different sorts of communication, the problem might get more complicated because most communication tools have overlapping functions. Some of your employees may feel forced to utilize your instant messaging tool’s video calling capability rather than switching to different video calling programs. Similarly, team members may choose to discuss project-specific topics via chat rather than the project management platform, which can always alienate other team members. You may use a digital workspace to set up specific communication channels. It helps interact with team members in real-time and handle all project-related communications effortlessly. It reduces corporate expenses by eliminating the need to pay membership fees for several communication platforms. Furthermore, it improves and streamlines communication for distant teams. Remote employees may now effortlessly communicate with coworkers and always keep in the loop.