Communicating with your remote workforce is necessary to keep your business running, but are you doing it correctly?
Whether you are only starting as a manager of a remote team or are a seasoned entrepreneur with years of experience under your belt, collaborating effectively with your organization requires interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence and being able to communicate your thoughts clearly in any situation.
Other articles you might like:
- How leaders can develop remote management skills
- How to manage remote teams across time zones
- Asynchronous Communication: A Practical Guide for Remote Teams
- Keep your remote team connected with a virtual coffee break
- How to plan a virtual retreat for your remote team
- How to keep remote employees engaged and motivated
- The advances of remote work monitoring tools
Unlike in face-to-face communication, communicating with the remote team means that a lot of the information can be lost in email or Instant Messaging. Follow these simple tips for effective remote team communication, and you’ll be likely to reap the benefits in the near future.
1. Step Up Your Software Game
Re-creating the in-office experience when working remotely is possible if you invest in the correct type of collaborative software and communication technology. Whether you choose to use a combination of Zoom for video calls and Slack for messages, it’s important to find the combo that works best for your team.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple software until you find the right one for your specific needs. Besides software used for communication, you should also consider collaborative software, such as Google Docs, for example, that allows multiple team members to work together on the same document at the same time.
Working collaboratively is one of the best ways to communicate effectively when working remotely because it mimics the office experience. You can also share ideas in real time as you work on a document, which is priceless when it comes to flowing ideas.
2. Brush Up Your Communication Skills
Having the right communication channels only works if you make an effort to improve your communication skills as well. Whether you have experience managing traditional teams or not, online interactions are different, and you should adapt your communication skills to suit them.
The Holy Grail of online interactions is the ability to communicate quickly, concisely, and effectively. This means that you should try to clearly convey your point within a few sentences if communicating in writing. If it takes longer than that, you should start a video chat instead, to be able to convey your ideas properly. After all, spending half an hour typing a message is less effective than a 10-minute video call with the entire team.
You should also make yourself available for communication at all times. Nobody wants to be ignored no matter what kind of working environment we’re talking about, but in the world of remote working, it’s imperative that you answer all questions members of the team might have as quickly as possible.
3. Don’t Overcommunicate
In an effort to always be available and motivate your team, you may fall into the trap of overcommunication. There’s absolutely no need to bombard your team with messages. If you’re the kind of person that follows up on a task by email
and phone, you should stop, because even though your intentions are good, that’s not effective communication.
Many remote workers may feel uncomfortable if you are abusing the access points, so it’s important to choose your communication strategy and stick to it. Refrain yourself from sending multiple emails regarding the same issue if you haven’t yet gotten a reply. Some companies have established digital communication rules, which means that some messages may be marked as “No Need to Reply,” which reduces the number of messages that go back and forth, thus saving time for both parties.
4. Plan Ahead
As the manager of a remote team, it’s important to communicate with outcomes in mind, so make a quick draft of everything you want to cover during video calls. This way, you can update your team quickly and concisely, while also anticipating some of the questions they might have for you.
When writing emails for your team, adopt the same strategy, by planning your email first and anticipate a couple of the most obvious questions your team members might have. This way, you won’t have to respond to multiple emails on the same matter and focus your attention elsewhere.
5. Use Pictures and Visuals
Whether you are communicating with your team via email or a video call, is important to make the content you want to share easy to skim. And because nobody likes reading a wall of text, include pictures and visuals in all your text documents so you can easily catch the reader’s attention and demonstrate your point better.
You can employ the same strategy for video calls by sharing your screen with the team and showing them exactly what you mean instead of spending time describing things in your own words.
6. Set Clear Expectations and Deadlines
Working remotely often leads to procrastination, and even the best and motivated workers get lured into it. To avoid having to pester your remote workers for deliverables, you need to set clear deadlines, outline your expectations, and check in frequently to make sure they are met. By setting these expectations clearly, you can help all members of your team remain accountable.
You should also outline your expectations regarding office hours. All team members should know when you are available to answer questions and when they are expected to be present online. Lead by example and encourage your team not to answer messages out of the office hours for a better work-life balance.
By having clear guidelines on communication, you can manage a remote team effectively and keep everyone happy and accountable at the same time.
Don’t forget that it’s not always about work. You should incorporate communication about personal topics from time to time to encourage team members to get to know each other and become a cohesive workforce. Working remotely is often a rewarding experience for both managers and the team. By following these tips to communicate effectively, you can make sure that the entire team is on the right path to reaching the common goals.