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11 Communication Ideas for Remote Teams

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Communication is key to successful teams. It ensures the proper completion of tasks and allows co-workers to collaborate in fulfilling ways. But with remote teams, the communication style changes. Co-workers can’t stop by the office next door or pass each other in the hallway. All communication is remote, and simply replying to emails isn’t going to cut it. Successful remote communication requires much more than that, and learning how to communicate effectively with your remote team can be a key factor in the success of your company.

In this article, we will discuss 11 communication tips that will help your team become excellent communicators.

Clearly Communicate Expectations

From the get-go, explain your expectations to each employee. You must clearly communicate their responsibilities, deliverables, and deadlines to keep them accountable and self-sufficient. It’s also helpful to provide objective key performance indicators (KPIs).

Constantly remind your team of your common goal and how each person fits into achieving it. This ensures that your team is connected and motivated.

Use The Right Collaboration Tools

Remote teams often work through several communication channels such as Slack, Trello, and Whatsapp. However, using too many apps can be confusing; it can also be counter-productive, particularly if communication isn’t synchronized. So instead, stick to a simple combination that works for your team.

It’s also important for managers to explain these tools to their employees. Map out processes (e.g., how to start new tasks, how to ask for feedback, etc.) so that work moves seamlessly and once talented employees are found, those new hires can be onboarded quickly.

Set Communication Guidelines

Assign each communication channel a specific purpose. For example, you can use Slack for brainstorming but move to emails when ideas are formalized or for client communication. Then, you can use Trello for task-specific comments. This will help prevent confusion and ensure that important information doesn’t get lost.

Over-Communicate in Written Messages

A lot of context is lost in written messages, especially without instant responses and body language. So encourage your team to over-communicate (i.e., contextualize) when sending written messages. This will help prevent misunderstandings.

Meet Often—With Cameras On

It’s easy to feel disconnected from a team when you don’t see them at the office. But a great way to create belonging is to have regular team meetings. This builds affinity and an emotional bond that connects your team. It’s even more effective when cameras are turned on during video meetings.

Present Ideas Visually

Massive amounts of text turn everyone off, and that’s even more true in fast-paced environments where people skim through large documents and reports. Presenting ideas visually (through photos, charts, and graphs) saves time, engages your team, and helps them digest information.  Think of a logo and how important it is to recognizing a business.

Make Time for One-On-One Communication

Personally check in with your team one-on-one to show support. It will help you understand what’s happening within the team and resolve any issues proactively. 

One-on-ones don’t have to be a big event. They can be quick five to 10-minute check-ins once a week.

Open Non-Work-Related Communication Channels

To solidify your team’s bond, they need to connect outside of work. Promote regular non-work-related conversations. Use a communication channel for team members to share random updates, such as a new favorite song or pet photos.

You should also hold regular virtual team bonding activities.

Encourage your employees to take time off, as well. Help them set “off-hours” when they aren’t online and aren’t expected to return messages.

Trust Your Employees

It may be tempting to micromanage your employees in a remote environment. But successful remote teams mean once good talent is hired, require freedom and independence for employees to decide how they work best. You have to trust your employees to work efficiently and meet deadlines—and this trust can be communicated by giving them the space they need to accomplish their tasks. 

Remember That Communication Evolves

There is no one-size-fits-all communication style. Try these tips to learn what works for your team. Then, adapt your communication system to fit your needs. Successful communication takes work, but it will be worth it.

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