Best Communication Tips to Effectively Collaborate on Remote Teams
The rapid rise of remote employment has fundamentally shifted the way colleagues communicate and collaborate in the workplace. While there’s no doubt that working from home offers many advantages over traditional office culture, such as flexibility and autonomy, it also presents unique challenges when it comes to communication. After all, remote teams rarely meet in person so they must rely on communicating through messaging apps, email, and video calls – which are great tools in general but ones riddled with communication hurdles. To combat these challenges, remote teams must adopt effective strategies that foster transparency, trust, and collaboration among their members. Not sure what strategies to implement for your team? That’s okay! In this article, we will review the best communication tips for teams who desire to work more productively and cohesively, despite being in a remote environment.
In this post:
- Best Tips to Sharpen Asynchronous Communication Skills
- Essential Tips for Establishing Communication Norms on Remote Teams
Best Tips to Sharpen Asynchronous Communication Skills
Asynchronous communication – a communication style in which there is a time delay between the sender and recipient – is common in the remote work environment. This type of remote team communication can happen through a variety of channels including email, messaging apps, project management tools, and even social media, in some instances.
Unlike synchronous communication, which occurs in real time, asynchronous messages are not dependent on the availability of both parties at the same time. And while this is useful for remote teams, there are some skills needed to ensure success.
Here are some tips to improve your asynchronous communication skills:
- Use concise language. Write clear messages that are easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or over-explaining details that may confuse others.
- Provide context for your statement. It’s imperative that your team members understand the purpose of your messages, so provide context and avoid confusion.
- Include bullet points when needed. Use headings and bullet points to break up long messages and make your notes easier to understand.
- Avoid sarcasm and crass humor. Written communication makes it hard to convey tone. To avoid any communication pitfalls, avoid using sarcastic statements.
- Be respectful of time zone differences. When sending messages, consider the time zone of your recipient and do your best to avoid sending messaging outside of business hours if possible.
- Be patient. This style of communication may take longer than synchronous communication, so do your best to be patient as your team members respond.
Essential Tips for Establishing Communication Norms on Remote Teams
It’s important to establish communication guidelines, especially when you’re working remotely. However, it can be hard to figure out the best ways for remote teams to communicate.
The good news is that we’ve curated a list of essential tips:
- Identify the best communication channels. Work with your remote team to figure out the best tools to communicate – whether that’s through email, chat, video calls, or project management software.
- Set guidelines and expectations. Establish clear guidelines to encourage effective communication among colleagues. When everyone knows how and when to communicate, they are less likely to fall out of sync as a team.
- Use video calls to connect with colleagues. Remote communication is all about quick response times, it’s about establishing a connection with others as well. So, use video calls to carve out some much-needed face-to-face time with those you work alongside.
- Schedule consistent check-ins. Set up regular meetings with your team to align your goals, discuss progress, and collaborate on creative projects.
- Be considerate of varying work schedules. Sometimes, it can be hard to get on the same page when you work remotely – especially if your schedule varies from that of your colleague. So, when it comes to communication best practices, it’s imperative to be mindful of time zones and differences in work schedules. Our recommendation is to use a shared calendar to set automated email messages to notify folks when you’re out of the virtual office.
- Be responsive. Do your best to respond to messages in a timely manner – especially when collaborating on important or time-sensitive projects. While communication won’t always be synchronous on remote teams, it is important to be responsive as soon as you can.
- Use collaborative tools. Project management tools such as Trello, Asana, and Slack make sharing project updates seamless. So, if you’re looking for a solution to communication hurdles or ways to foster creativity, consider implementing the use of a collaborative tool.
Effective communication is the key to success on any team and remote teams are certainly no exception. By following the communication tips listed above, you can increase productivity, improve collaboration, and establish personal connections with your fellow remote employees. Just remember to set clear communication guidelines, use the right tools, and be patient as you engage in dialogue with your colleagues near and far.