One of the biggest challenges facing remote and hybrid businesses is remote team communication. You can hire top talent, get your team the best equipment and offer all the benefits — but if your communication protocols are all over the place then your productivity levels will be, too.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that once your communication is running smoothly it will, with a bit of TLC every now and then, pretty much run itself. The other good news is that it’s not complicated. As a matter of fact, there are five things that will make an enormous difference in the way your remote team communicates. And you can start implementing them right now.
Here we go.
#1: USE THE BEST TOOLS FOR YOUR REMOTE TEAM
Over the last two years there’s been a virtual explosion of online tools and apps for remote communication. That’s been a boon for productivity and collaboration.
In addition, though, it’s also become really easy to get hung up on shiny object syndrome and sign up for free trials of all of them.
Don’t. Make a quick list of the features your team absolutely must have to keep things running smoothly. Then discontinue all the rest. Usually that means at a minimum:
- Collaborative software. Like Slack. This is where all your day-to-day synchronous communication takes place. Quick questions, brainstorming, fun stuff, all of it.
- Video conferencing software. Like Zoom. You need to have a way to hold your meetings and one-on-one conferences.
- Management software. You don’t want projects to fall through the cracks just because your team is remote. Trello, Monday.com and Asana are three examples.
#2: CREATE A DATABASE
Once you’ve got your tools up and running, create a database or intranet with all the basic information your team might need to know daily. This might include company reports, case studies, the latest research or information about new product launches.
Beware: Do NOT think you have to have every single scrap of information in the database before going live with it. It’ll need constant updating, anyway, so better done than perfect.
#3: IF YOU DON’T HAVE REMOTE TEAM COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES, MAKE SOME
Remote burnout and Zoom fatigue are real and they can turn communication into a huge chore. The best and quickest way to stop that in its tracks is to set up some simple, clear guidelines for remote team communication.
Some points to consider:
- You don’t want your team to feel like they have to be available 24/7. So, determine when and for how long you need team members to be available each day or week and set up an online calendar showing when each person’s time slot is.
- Team time. If the whole team needs to be available at a certain time of day or week, let everyone know.
- Response time. Decide what the max respond time is to asynchronous communications like email.
- Time off policy. You do NOT want your team burning out on you. Make sure that there’s a designated “sign-off” point and that everyone respects their coworkers’ schedules.
#4: REMOTE TEAM COMMUNICATION AND ASSUMPTIONS DON’T GO TOGETHER
We all know how much fun misunderstandings are and how we should really, really try not to make assumptions.
Well, that goes double or triple for remote communication. Emails, DM’s and even video conferencing leave lots more room for misinterpretation than in-person conversations do.
The main key to avoiding all that is to stop making assumptions. Don’t assume your coworker knew or understood; instead, clarify everything possible.
#5: #FEEDBACK FRIDAY
There’s a reason that hashtags are so popular. Setting a regular time for feedback (whether or not it’s on Fridays) is super-important to remote team communication.
But here’s the thing: It’s not just for you to give positive feedback to your team, which you should be doing as much as possible all week long. It’s also about time where your team can give you feedback. Let them know that you want to hear about what they feel is working and what’s not. Create an atmosphere of open communication so they can come to discuss issues with you, knowing you want to hear what they have to say.
So there you go. Five totally practicable, doable steps you can take to improve your remote team communication. Right now.
Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! Its the little changes that will make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!