Effective communication is at the core of every well-functioning workplace. Even though the rise of remote work isn’t a new trend, many people are still figuring out how to work remotely through trial and error, doing their best to stay positive and productive.
But why do people love remote work?
It’s the flexibility, the lack of commute, and the ability to travel and live anywhere, including outside of major cities. The increased productivity and of course, the ability to be closer to one’s family. But even though most people love working remotely, remote work has a lot of challenges. It’s easy to fall into many of the traps of remote work, especially if you’re new to it and a global pandemic is the culprit!
Moving to a remote working structure can seem daunting at first. But if you follow our 7 simple remote work tips for effective communication with a remote team. Rest assured that you will experience the benefits, no matter where your team members are!
1. Use the right communication Channels
Before your remote team starts working, it’s important to plan how your team members are going to communicate. This mainly involves setting up different channels of communication for different purposes. Like virtual meetings, regular communication, casual, and collaboration on projects. This step is pretty essential, due to the fact that if the channel is not predetermined, the chaos and confusion of your team can turn out to be the cause for detrimental business outcomes.
2. Be Present
Be mindful of your body language! Although we can still see each other in video meetings, that doesn’t mean everything translates the same as it would in person. After all, in this new context, we mostly only see each other from the chest up, leaving more than half a person’s worth of body language to account for. To make the most of what’s in the frame, make good eye contact, express yourself as you normally would with your hands, and show that you’re giving the other person or people your undivided attention.
3. Ensure regular check-ins with your remote team
This step is more important than ever before. While many of these remote work tips speak to how to compose yourself, properly leverage tools, and adjust to the new environment, there’s plenty to be said about creating an environment that minimizes miscommunication and maximizes reliability. Being responsive as quickly as you can is another form of visibility. If someone asks you a question, whether it’s in Slack, Microsoft Teams, or in a comment in a document tool, the faster you get back, the more visible you can seem. That’s not to say you should constantly be available at all hours and be open to interruptions, but quick responses can help people see that you’re hard at work.
4. Prioritize documentation
Make sure to document more than you would normally. For example, create documents to outline your ideas and align on the next steps. Those documents will make sure that everyone is on the same page. Make sure you share what you’ve written and discuss it with your team, either in your team’s chat app or on calls.
5. Practice Active Listening
It can be quite overwhelming to be in charge of the communication of your team. Moreover, regularly we focus on our priorities and foreshadow what our coworkers have to say. To deal with this, make sure to show genuine interest. Being genuinely interested in what your team members are saying is a huge part of being an effective communicator. Summarizing what you’ve heard is a great way to show that you’re listening and that you understand. Plus, whether you agree with what’s being said or not, responding with acknowledgment, understanding, and appreciation is a great way to help everyone leave the conversation with a more open mind.
6. Build-in accountability
Socializing or doing household chores when you’re supposed to be working is a recipe for reduced productivity. It’s easy to fall into these traps as a remote worker, but have no fear, there are plenty of tactics you can use to become more accountable.
- Decide how long something will take and dedicate yourself to working on it during that time.
- Block your calendar off so you know when to focus on what and to prevent people from scheduling meetings at that time.
- Standard task lists can help you know what you’re working on for the day and check it off as you go along.
- When sharing what you’re planning to do in Slack, for instance, you’re much more likely to do it than face the judgment of your coworkers
7. Celebrate Success
Whether in-house or remote teams, at the end of the day, it all boils down to working together as a team and appreciating each other’s hard work. However, remote workers can feel disconnected due to a lack of physical interaction with each other. If a piece of positive news happened during your time in a physical office, the joy was shared instantly or even celebrated with an event. The digital alternative is the introduction of recognizing good work on video calls or email. This can energize individuals or the whole team on their accomplishments and eventually it will motivate them to work harder. Every worker wants to feel valued and appreciated, and good managers understand this fact.
In reality, even with all of these best tips for remote work, there are still issues that will likely arise. Largely, due to changes in technical issues, personal adjustment, or myriad other unforeseeable circumstances connected to the pandemic. Remote work is nothing new. But figuring out exactly how to work remotely nowadays, is an impressive cutting edge!