There are great ways that can help you boost communication within your remote team.

How To Boost Communication Within Your Remote Team

To boost communication of a remote team, you need to be familiar with the concepts in online communication. In the office, your team interacts closely and directly. Whether in the meetings or the breakrooms, or working on mutual projects, it doesn’t matter. Every now and then, they take part in team-building activities, corporate events, or gatherings. This is how they bond and connect on a deeper level.

Meanwhile, remote teams operate differently. They share a virtual office, so they have fewer opportunities for socialization. This causes them to feel not just physically, but also emotionally detached. To lower the barriers, they use communication tools day in day out.

This aspect could always use some improvement, especially in remote teams. Take a look at some of the ways you can boost communication with your team in remote work conditions.

Boost Communication Tip #1: Lay Down Helpful Guidelines

Don’t make the same mistake most managers do. They assume if they give their remote team the tools they need, it’ll all fall into place. Online communication doesn’t work that way. 

What you can do to boost communication is set rules or guidelines on how everyone should communicate in the virtual work environment. The guidelines should also cover day-to-day business operations. As a result, you’ll be preventing a common issue in remote teams — the silo mentality. Apart from this, you’ll also speed up the message response time and include every team member in the message chain. 

When creating guidelines, you should cover the basic questions such as:

  • Where will the communication take place?
  • Which tools will you use for rapid responses?
  • When will the bursty communication session occur?

Don’t forget to consider team members working in various time zones and working schedules. This way not only will they feel included but also prepared to contribute to the company’s growth. 

Tip #2: Acknowledge Communication Preferences

The abundance of communication tools has allowed everyone to have their preferred way of conversing with others. Since your team consists of many individuals, you should acknowledge their communication preferences. For instance, the recruiting manager prefers internal messaging apps, while the accountant does best with emails. Your marketers like to jump in on audio or video calls and resolve the problems straight away. 

If you decide on an internal communication strategy without considering the needs of your remote team, it might backfire. They might be reluctant to use it. Chances are they’ll continue using other tools, so the communication could take place in various channels. 

To keep all information, both work and non-work related, try to use two or three tools at most. If possible, ask around and figure out their communication needs. Then, try to find the best solutions that meet those needs. 

Boost Communication Tip #3: Redefine Written Communication 

Employees use instant messaging apps for both professional and private conversations. That’s why it’s easy for them to cross the line and use informal language, slang, and jargon. Similarly, to make the conversation more effective, they might use abbreviations and acronyms. 

Although the use of such language helps employees to some extent, it also creates confusion. If you have new employees in the team, they mightn’t be able to understand what they’re supposed to do. 

You should keep everyone on the same page regarding language use. You can do that by making  a list of terms and acronyms employees can use in the office. Use this opportunity to exclude the inappropriate ones. Ultimately,  ask your team to use the list as a reference. 

Tip #4: Establish Bursty Communication

Ever since remote work evolved, managers have been trying to find the magic formula for successful communication. Most of them believe constant and consistent interaction is the key. Meanwhile, recent studies have shown bursty communication to be the common trait of effective remote teams.

The term refers to team members communicating in bursts. In other words, your team gets together online at the same time and exchanges relevant pieces of information. Also, they ask and answer each other’s questions for a short time and then go back to their tasks.

Bursty communication is great for teams with flexible schedules or those working in different time zones. It allows them to share knowledge. It also enables them to collaborate in real-time instead of waiting for the other person to reply to their messages. 

Boost Communication Tip #5: Make Work Observable 

Whether employees work in open offices or cubicles, they are up to date with each other’s progress. Work from home prevents employees from getting insight into their work. That’s why collaboration is particularly challenging. Also, it makes managers assume no work gets done when the team works online. 

Encourage your team to talk about the work they’re doing. Most organizations use project management tools to help them keep tabs on all the work done in the workplace. When employees regularly update their coworkers on their progress, the need for organizing meetings minimizes. This leads to greater efficiency and time management at work. 

If you decide to give project management tools a try, make sure to get the team on board. Also, encourage them to make changes and give updates. This way coworkers will know where everyone stands regarding a particular project at any time. 

Tip #6: Use Oral Communication More 

Remote teams rely on video calls for successful communication. Meanwhile, not everyone is comfortable communicating this way. For instance, introverts and withdrawn persons might feel overwhelmed with too many visual stimuli. That’s why they turn off the video during video conferences and use their voice to convey their messages.

The human voice is a powerful tool. When we speak, our listeners can detect our feelings right away. This is one of the elements written communication lacks. Without the video, employees can focus on the voice and its tone for all the additional cues for effective communication.

Therefore, audio calls might be just as efficient as video ones. You’ll quickly notice the introverts in your team participate more without the camera on.  

Conclusion

In-house and remote teams differ in many ways. One of the greatest differences lies in the way they communicate and socialize. Remote teams demand a specific approach that stresses the importance of communication and aims to improve it continuously. With these tips, you’ll be able to do that and so much more.

About Jess Cooper

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