Effective communication is essential in business, and it is certainly true that traditionally oriented enterprises have an advantage here. When you look at the opportunities they have, through traditional weekly progress meetings, core team meetings, brainstorming sessions, focus groups, or simply the ability to stroll down the hall to your colleague’s office and discuss the task at hand.
There is certainly something quite satisfying in bouncing ideas of a person and energizing in hashing out the problem. This energy and satisfaction needs to be replicated by remote teams, as despite the distance the task requires the same effective communication.
The question then remains, how do you create the same environment for communication as a remote team?
7 Tips for Effective Communication
Pillars of Remote Communication
The backbone of any remote team is communication, and there are three pillars of communication that teams ought to develop their roles around – asynchronous communication, synchronous communication, and in-person communication. Many remote teams operate in different time-zones, and thus their schedules can differ. Allowing for back-and-forth discussions within a remote team, rather than depending upon live interaction, will create an effective communication atmosphere for your team.
“Synchronous communication is the antithesis, an is equally useful give that team members are operating within the same time-zone and agree to communicate via the same platform simultaneously. This is particularly important for time constrained projects, where instant solutions are required” – explains Frederick Stone, a Communication manager at Essay Roo.
In-person communication is self-explanatory, and rare within a remote team – though pre-arranged meetings in person on even a semi-annual basis can improve the communicative dynamic within a remote team, creating a personable team dynamic.
Designate Communication Tools
There is no shortage of communication apps available on the market now. It is very easy for your remote team to become saturated by various tools and methods which will do nothing short of damaging communication, focus, and overall productivity. Ukwritings or Academ Advisor provide additional guides on communication styles.
It is important to designate what each tool is meant designed for – Skype for live chatting and urgent tasks, and then Slack for less important tasks. Prioritising these tasks for team members is essential for effective communication, and with tested tools like Trello this can be improved.
Task Management Tools
Using a calendar when you’re a member of a remote team is an effective way to keep track of task and project progress. This is especially important for projects that require multiple team members input on the project.
Keeping track of time-zones, time-off, planning remote meetings, all of which retain effective communication. Tools like Futuramo are great for keeping the project on track, while Grammarix is equally useful in retaining effective communication.
The Water-Cooler Effect
Getting to know your colleagues is systemic of traditional organisations, and this should be given the same importance in remote teams. Creating a chat-room – an online space for non-work-related content, not only provides a platform for remote teams to get to know one another, but also prevents collaborative work channels becoming saturated with irrelevant content.
Reach Your Milestones
It can see easy to become disorientated from the range of balls being juggled by your remote team, but setting milestones, weekly check-ins, and reports, prospectively addresses these issues. It is not just a motivational and accountability tool, but as Jared Ponchot of Lullabot suggests, it is a platform for asynchronous communication – messages, discussions, reports, as each person’s previously established schedule allows.
Working in a remote team can create an isolated atmosphere. It can also make it seem like your work is going unnoticed – or worse again, that your other team members don’t value it. This is an important issue for remote teams to address in order communicate effectively and maintain moral.
Boom Essays and StateOfWriting provide a helpful platform to ensure that your teams written communication is positive. A quick message to acknowledge the good work, or an appreciative email remove isolation from your remote team.
Tone & Style
One of the biggest pitfalls in written communication is the susceptibility to being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Without the visual and tonal cues, we often rely so heavily upon, written communication can often come across as tense, irritable, angry, or rude when it was in fact quite innocuous.
Going the extra mile to review each message, using tools like Viawriting can relieve the strain of misinterpreted communication. In this case, overcommunicating at times is more effective than its concise alternative.
Emojis are often utilised to bridge the gap between team members in terms of those missing tonal and facial cues – but this of course will depend on your company’s culture and what is considered professional behaviour.
Effective communication is essential in business, especially when your business is comprised of remote teams working in physical isolation from the next one. Following the above top tips will reduce the isolation effect, increase the personable dynamic, and most of all – effective communication will increase productivity and workflow.
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