Top 12 Remote Team Communication StrategiesThe Flow TeamLast Updated: June 16, 2020
When you’re leading a remote or distributed team, consider it a top priority to keep personal and working connections strong. Team members are likely spread across different time zones and work on many diverse projects while having unique working styles. There doesn’t appear to be anything inherent to remote work that promotes collaboration. But if collaboration is at the heart of productivity for your company, you’ll need effective remote team communication strategies to keep the connections among your teammates strong.
Remote Team Communication Strategies
After the thrill of working on the couch in pajamas wears off, distractions creep in, mental noise turns up, and feelings of isolation take over. Even for people who’ve wanted the chance to work from home for years, they may come to miss the advantages of in-person teamwork.
The drawbacks of remote work can take a toll on individual and team performance. It’s time to find creative ways to foster connections between people who are rarely, if ever, together in the same room.
Here’s what we recommend:
1. Develop a cooperative company culture, and actively communicate shared values.
Everyone likes to feel that they’re a part of something bigger, that their individual contributions serve a larger, more meaningful vision. Take these intrinsic values seriously and consistently impart them to your team.
2. Plan company-wide and team check-ins on a regular basis.
For many team members, having the opportunity to give and receive updates or exchange ideas face-to-face is important—even if that face time isn’t actually in-person. Video conferencing apps, like Zoom, make these virtual discussions easy.
3. Facilitate spontaneous communication.
Even though dropping by a co-worker’s desk isn’t an option, communicating through one-on-one messaging, task-based conversations, and project-related chat channels is possible—with an internal chat tool, like Slack. (Or with productivity software that has this feature already built-in.)
4. Keep project resources in one place to save time.
One benefit of using project management software is that it keeps all resources organized in the cloud. You can also create a dedicated space—or home—for individual projects where any related tasks, documents, and conversations are quickly and easily found.
5. Manage expectations with assignments and due dates.
When team members are clear on the steps they need to take, it’s easier to cut down on noise and focus on the work. Due dates help with prioritization, and flexible assigning allows team members to pass the baton to another.
6. Offer ongoing training and invite collaboration.
Virtual training sessions do more than provide team members with opportunities to hone existing skills or learn something new. They create a space where teams can brainstorm, give feedback, educate one another, and have fun.
7. Adopt the best software tools for remote communication.
Without tools that are designed for remote team success, online communication can be clunky and critical information can get lost. With the right tools, your teams will be motivated to connect more often for greater efficiency and productivity overall.
8. Save time for casual not-work-related events.
If all communication is work-related, you’re missing opportunities for greater connection and motivation. Block time out for virtual Happy Hours, shared lunches, and cooperative games to help team members feel more engaged.
9. Exercise candor.
Setting an example of transparency helps the team understand exactly what needs to happen and where the priorities lie. It also encourages more direct communication among team members to avoid misunderstandings and facilitate more honest and respectful connections.
10. Expect the best of intentions.
Remote communications bring a high possibility of misunderstanding. Without facial expressions and body language, it’s easy to misread intent—especially when the bulk of communication is happening through emails, chat channels, and texts. Encourage your team to expect the best of intentions even when conversation styles differ and to follow up when more information is required rather than to make assumptions.
11. Respect individual differences.
Everyone communicates differently and still has the right to be heard. By actively showing respect for how people prefer to communicate, more team members will be willing to open up.
12. Celebrate successes.
To keep team members engaged and motivated, it helps to demonstrate appreciation. So, celebrate successes often in tasks, in chat channels, and during check-ins and meetings. Encourage your team to also express appreciation for their team members. Recognition and gratitude go a long way in establishing connections and encouraging collaboration.
Connect with an All-in-One Collaboration Platform
Creating truly meaningful connections is an art form. When everyone works remotely—and may be scattered across time zones—you have to get even more creative. Remote team communication strategies that are cumbersome or stodgy won’t work to keep everyone engaged. You can encourage real connections and promote a collaborative approach by offering great remote communication tools alongside enlightened strategies.
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