Proper communication in a remote team relies completely on online tools. More often than not, you’ll engage in voice chats, video conferences, emails, and messages. But have you been utilizing them in the best way you can?
Regardless of using tools, you must have spent a lot of time waiting for email confirmations, message replies, and whatnot. There are even chances that your work got held due to the dependencies and miscommunication.
So, what can you do to ease your communication pain-points?
To ease some of your communication struggles in distributed remote teams, here are a few essential tips:
1. Use the right tools for effective communication in a remote team.
Choose the right tool depending upon the urgency of your communication. While Zoom is an excellent choice for video conferences, it should not be used to make calls that could have been an email.
You must know the purpose of your communication before choosing your tools. If it is something trivial, Slack can be a good platform. If it’s sprint planning with your team, make Zoom your default tool. The choice of your communication tools must depend on your purpose.
2. Set protocols for calls and video conferencing.
Another way to make your communication effective is by setting ground rules. When working remotely, you will continuously attend calls and video conferences. What you need to remember is everyone there has essential things to do. So, make sure you set your phone to silent and turn off your slack notifications.
Also, remember to observe their gestures and facial expressions. It reveals more information than words. Hence, we prefer bright rooms for video calls. It is even better if they use their laptops instead of shared devices. This way, you will have a better view of their expressions.
3. Encourage informal communication in remote teams.
If you are managing a remote team, Slack becomes a tool to replace your coffee room conversation. A random “Hi/Hey” can cheer up your remote team. As in a physical office, work doesn’t always have to be serious. Create Slack channels like random for your out of work banters. Keep your remote team engaged. Use emoticons to add life to your conversation and build relationships over “light-hearted jokes”.
4. Plan for timely informal meetups
Monthly, quarterly, or yearly townhall meetings keep your remote team updated about what and whys of your company. But it is also crucial you come together for informal meetups. Go on a holiday with your remote team once in a while. Get to know them better in person.
5. Be engaged. Be noticed.
Your remote team is most likely to feel isolated at times. There can even be cases where they might feel non-existent in the company. To avoid such scenarios, encourage the team to engage, like, or react to comments in Slack or another medium. Urge them to share their thoughts and ideas. Always make them feel like they are a part of the team regardless of the distance.
Communication can get tricky in remote teams. However, you can always optimally utilize the tools and nail your communication game.