When working remotely, there is lots of room for error when communicating on a day-to-day basis with your team. The lack of an office environment where you are all physically visible and available to one another, the absence of body language in conversations, and the challenges of translating tone over messages or email, greatly impact our ability to interpret communication clearly with our team members. Let’s look at some simple tips to communicate effectively across remote teams.
Overcommunicating might feel weird at first – but, remember your colleagues have no idea what you’re up to unless you share this information with them. If you are working collaboratively with others, this is especially important so that you’re all on the same page for achieving common goals. It is 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.
Hold Video Meetings, Often
Whenever possible, gather your team members together and host a video meeting. Video meetings 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. For more on how to conduct highly effective virtual meetings with newly remote teams, click on our blog post here.
Report Unusual Circumstances Immediately
Life can be surprising and unusual circumstances can arise when we least expect them. Now that we are working from home, many of us face the challenges of juggling work while homeschooling kids, caring for other household and family members, or tending to the needs of our beloved pets (aren’t our pets just SO happy that we’re always home now?). With the current health crisis, we should also proceed cautiously if we fall ill, even if we believe it’s only something minor. Whatever the situation may be, if something arises that impacts your work or your work schedule, let your colleagues know. This allows time for them to prepare to take on additional responsibilities if need be.
No question is a “stupid” question. 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.
Make Your Calendar Accessible
Have your calendar available to your team so that they can see when you are wrapped up with a client, project, or personal matter. Your team members will know when you are 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.
Review + Edit All Written Communication
Before you hit the “send” button – take a minute to reread the email or message you have just written. This might seem trivial and like a waste of time, but taking that second or minute to review and edit your emails and messages can save a whole lot of time if the receiver misinterprets what you have written. People cannot 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. Use these simple tips to minimize errors arising from miscommunication and keep your team working efficiently, together. Got your own simple tips for effective communication across remote teams? Share them with us in the comments section!