Years ago, morning meetings in the conference room and quick chats around the water cooler were the norms. Now, we have team meetings on Zoom and text each other to stay up to date. The rise of remote work is expanding the business landscape, but it’s also introducing a new challenge: remote team communication.
Mastering Remote Communication
Businesses run on communication. However, you often find these obstacles when remote teams try to communicate:
- Not everyone has high-speed internet at home
- Employees might work in different time zones
- Great talkers aren’t necessarily great writers
- Zoom meetings don’t generate organic conversations
- There’s no energy from in-depth discussions
- You lack subtext from nonverbal cues
Despite these potential challenges, remote workers shouldn’t despair. We have a couple of tips to help you and your team master remote team communication.
Mastering remote communication starts with determining when to use the right tools. You have multiple communication tools at your fingertips, but not all are the same. One might be more effective than another in certain situations.
Tip #1: Determine When to Use Which Tools
Find suggestions to help you decide when to use different platforms.
Businesses rely heavily on email, whether in person or remotely. However, email communication can be frustrating and slow, so make sure you use it effectively. An email should be your go-to option for the following:
- Communicating with non-team members
- Sending Zoom meeting invites and agendas
- Distributing large amounts of in-depth info
- Sharing info that isn’t time-sensitive
A video conference is the best alternative to meeting in person. Seeing your teammates and hearing their voices builds a sense of community you won’t get from asynchronous communication. Unfortunately, Zoom meetings can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and exasperating if you don’t do them right.
We recommend having a video conference for situations like these:
- Discussing important, time-sensitive topics
- Presenting information that requires immediate feedback
- Building community and preventing isolation
With in-person employees, you get around-the-office buzz and breakroom conversations. With remote employees, you get chat platforms like Slack. Chats help your team stay connected and develop relationships in a stable work environment.
Although chats encourage workplace interactions, they can create distractions and interruptions. You should limit chat apps, using them for:
- Brief conversations
- Reactions and feedback to work-related tasks
- Quick checkups and questions throughout the workday
- Group discussions that require minimal input
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Tone
With face-to-face conversations, you have nonverbal cues to support your communication. These nonverbals provide subtext, indicate emotion, and help the listener stay engaged. With remote communication, you don’t have any of this.
What you say in person could come across as wildly different in writing. It’s essential to pay attention to tone in your virtual communication, giving recipients as many nonverbal cues as possible. Here are some strategies to maintain the right tone of voice and improve remote conversations:
- Edit and proofread. Don’t type out an email or message and hit “send” without looking over it. Make sure you use clear, precise language to convey the intended meaning. Organize information in such a way as to give the proper effect.
- Understand it works both ways. Write with the correct tone, but also read with the proper perspective. Don’t assume a direct-sounding message is rude or angry – give the other person the benefit of the doubt.
Tip #3: Develop a Communications Policy
You’ll need to establish ground rules for remote employees to communicate effectively. Collaborate with your team to create a policy that governs remote communication and productivity. A set of rules helps team members stay connected and complete tasks on time.
Your policy should include specific guidelines, like these:
- Respond to emails within 48 hours – Slack messages within 24 hours.
- During video conferences, keep your webcam on, maintain a professional background, and don’t move away from your computer.
- Begin emails with an appropriate salutation, such as “good morning” or “hi, team.”
Having ground rules will keep your team accountable. It’ll ensure you complete work on time, correctly, and with everyone in the loop. Remote working will be more efficient and productive when you have a well-organized policy.
Do you need help with remote team communication? At 1222 Offices, we can provide your team with state-of-the-art executive offices, virtual offices, and meeting rooms in Cape Coral, Florida. Go online or contact us today!