Communicating effectively while working with remote teams can be challenging, given the absence of body language and difficulties translating tone over email and chat. This greatly impacts our ability to interpret communication clearly. Let’s look at some simple tips for enhancing communication across remote teams.
Overcommunicating might feel strange at first – but remember, your colleagues have no idea what you’re up to unless you share this information with them. If you’re working collaboratively with others, this is especially important so that you’re all on the same page for achieving common goals. It’s easy to feel out of the loop when working alone from home. Set an example by overcommunicating your daily objectives and accomplishments, and encourage your team members to do the same.
The phrase 'there is no such thing as a stupid question’ applies doubly in remote collaboration settings. If you’re unclear about something, ask a team member immediately. This prevents unnecessary misunderstandings and miscommunication, and allows everyone to continue to work in their regular momentum, without needless conflict and errors.
Whenever possible, gather your team members together and host a video meeting. Video calls can be brief, effective, and most importantly show body language and reveal tone, which can be critical to interpreting conversations. Host a weekly meeting with relevant team members and keep everyone in the loop. You can find more useful tips on how to conduct highly effective virtual meetings with newly remote teams here.
Make your calendar available to your team so that they can see when you’re wrapped up with a client, project or personal matter. Your team members will know when you’re available to answer questions and have work-related discussions, without needing to ping you a dozen times to get your attention. If your schedule allows, block off a time in your calendar each day or once a week for your colleagues to get in touch with you.
When we’re working from home, many of us face the challenges of juggling work while tackling our family responsibilities, caring for other household and family members, or tending to the needs of our beloved pets. If something arises that impacts your work or schedule, let your colleagues know. This allows time for them to prepare to take on additional responsibilities if need be.
Before you hit the “send” button, take a minute to proofread the email or message you’ve just written. Take the opportunity to ensure your message and any requested responses or actions are crystal clear. This might seem like a waste of time, but taking it can actually save you time later that might otherwise have to be spent clarifying. People can't perceive tone clearly over messages, so make sure that your messages are clear and concise.
Working remotely can be tough. Don’t complicate things more with ineffective communication and remember to take a few breaks in between to keep the productivity engine rolling. Use our simple tips to minimize errors arising from miscommunication and keep your remote teams working efficiently, together.