The ability to hire and work with some of the most experienced people from around the world is one of the biggest advantages of a remote workforce. There are a lot of talented people that you can hire right now. However, managing such teams has its challenges which range from inconsistent performance, team communication, and finding long-term workers to having no idea what your team members are capable of at any stage.
There are three critical areas that determine the success of your remote team:
- The hiring process
- How you communicate with your team
- Systems available to increase productivity
In this article, we are going to focus on improving remote team communication. Remember, without effective communication, there is nothing much a remote team can accomplish. Let’s get started!
Communicating with your team
Effective communication is one of the best ways to maintain a productive and motivated team. Since there’ll be a lack of face to face interactions, communicating with your team effectively will compensate for this lack.
You need to create opportunities for your team members to interact with each other for instance team meetings.
A daily brief meeting with your team members will help everyone stay on track and feel like they are working together and not in isolation.
A brief weekly meeting will also accomplish the same thing. To avoid getting stuck into minor details and issues, you should consider handling everything in the weekly meeting to save time and energy.
Being available and responding promptly to your team members will not only improve the team’s efficiency but also retain your workers. One of the best ways to improve employee engagement is by contacting your team every day.
To improve team communication, ensure that all discussions are organized properly for future reference. This is will also help in getting new hires up to speed since all outcomes and discussion points will be available.
Tips to improve remote team communication
1. Check-in with your team regularly
Remote working can lead to loneliness and isolation. You need to check in with your team regularly. You can use apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts to hold video meetings and go through projects, ideas, and just socializing.
Having one or two meetings every week and being open to ad hoc calls in case a team member wants to run through several ideas is important.
Checking in with your team will not only boost morale but also help you figure out any potential challenge before it becomes a real issue.
Using a daily activity report template will help you track your team’s progress after checking in with them. This template will help you take note of the progress that would have gone unnoticed.
In order not to miss anything at your meeting and make it more productive, follow our checklist.
2. Adapt to the challenges of remote work
Working with a remote team comes with several challenges. This is especially true if you are used to working in an office. Adapting to creating and following your schedule, shifting to digital communication, and learning that you can’t do much in bed can be difficult.
However, if you are aware of these challenges, you’ll be prepared to tackle them.
Before transitioning fully to remote work, think of the challenges that your team might face. These could be technical difficulties, team communication, work-life balance, and procrastination. Noting these obstacles on your mind map will help you come up with amazing solutions.
It is also important to communicate the changes you want to make with your team on time. If you’ve decided to switch to working remotely on a full-time basis, you should send all your team members a formal letter.
3. Invest in communication technology
If you enjoy brainstorming and throwing things around with your team members, remote working might seem difficult for you. However, you can create an “in-office” experience using great collaborative software.
You should consider using a combination of Google Hangouts for video calls and Slack for messages. These apps and software are simple to use and they can be integrated with other apps easily to improve team communication.
During the transition process, adopting collaboration processes can be difficult. You need to ensure that your team understands when, how, and why collaboration should be used by creating a flow diagram.
A flow diagram is a tool that outlines all variables in a particular situation. Having a flow diagram will help you avoid explaining the process every single time.
4. Become a proactive manager
To run your remote team effectively, you need to be proactive. The more proactive you are, the easier your employees and team will operate.
For instance, if you have a huge project coming up that will require a lot of time and energy, you should communicate this to all the team members in advance. Doing this will help them prepare and plan for it when the appropriate time comes.
This also applies when it comes to remote team members taking some time off. Being a proactive manager and improving team communication will help you plan and minimize delays.
When it comes to communicating, set the standards. Check your messages and ensure that there are no spelling and grammatical errors. You can do this easily and quickly by using thesis writing services.
5. Encourage feedback and discussions
Sometimes, when a remote team member is busy while discussing a project or task with you, they’ll agree to everything you say just to get the conversation done.
This is usually normal when you are communicating with someone from a different part of the world and while they are getting ready to sleep, you are starting your day.
Encourage your team to ask questions to guarantee that they understand what’s going on clearly and minimizes room for expensive mistakes while working on the project.
To encourage discussions and feedback, you need to facilitate team communication using tools such as the State of Writing and Every Time Zone.
6. Minimize interruptions
While working remotely is a luxury and privilege, the risk of interruptions is high. And this can lead to serious problems when it comes to workflow. Some of these interruptions can be avoided.
However, you don’t want to cause them. If you are aware of the working pattern of your remote team, you should avoid messaging them all the time so that they can focus on completing their tasks.
If you need to talk to a team member, you should send a comprehensive message that covers everything you want to know about the project.
7. Build a routine
Remote team members operate independently even when all of them are working on the same project. When working from coffee shops or homes, people choose different environments and settings.
Some prefer working in a silent environment while others enjoy listening to podcasts and music. And when something comes up, the flexibility of working remotely allows them to do other activities such as laundry, picking up kids from school, or running to the grocery store. Most remote workers love this.
Office teams hold meetings regularly in person or on the phone to discuss the progress of projects and ask questions. Working remotely doesn’t mean that you don’t need a routine.
Figure out what you want and ask for it. Call your team members regularly. Having a routine will improve team communication, collaboration, help in understanding the project at hand, and complete their tasks on time.
8. Set guidelines and requirements
The best thing about remote work is flexibility. However, you need to be specific for your team to achieve its objectives.
Your team needs to know what’s required of them and how they should operate within their schedules.
Setting clear expectations for participation and performance will help you achieve your objectives.
Requirements need to revolve around projects, work habits, and other social elements that you consider important. Think of the expectations you have about your team and projects. Define what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Some of the team communication elements that you should clarify includes:
- Weekly meeting schedules and who should attend
- Technological requirements
- How team members should participate
- Maximum acceptable delays in getting responses
- Daily hours and requirements
- Compliance metrics and performance
You should always make an effort to define what’s appropriate and what isn’t. After having all the basics in place, you need guidelines that revolve around communication too. Having these guidelines will help your team resolve issues without having to communicate with the leadership all the time.
9. Present ideas and pitches visually
Do you remember the last time you presented ideas in person at the office? Your energy and level of confidence determined how present your listeners were. Presenting online makes it harder for your listeners to feel your energy. However, it’s not impossible.
Instead of focusing on your voice and energy, pay attention to designing and creating captivating slides. Pick a vibrant color and include clear diagrams, icons, and a strong call to action. Encourage your team members to create presentations and pitch their ideas too.
10. Include pictures and visuals in your text documents
Nobody enjoys reading blocks of texts for hours. You can improve team communication by ensuring that all your documents are visual. Use headers, images, colors, and infographics.
A well-placed image or icon can improve the quality of your document and make it easy for people to read them.
However, you should avoid going overboard by sticking to a few colors and ensuring that you leave plenty of whitespace around pictures. The same applies to data that you want to present Instead of using a table, consider visualizing the information by using graphs, charts, and infographics.
As you’ve seen, improving team communication during remote working is pretty easy. All you need is willingness and commitment. Don’t be too hard on your team. And most importantly, focus on the results.