Good Practices to Improve Communication in Remote Teams
Good practices to improve communication in remote teams
Remote work is now part of our everyday life. We don’t talk about it as a novel phenomenon anymore, but rather it has massively and increasingly become adopted by companies.
Currently, companies that offer the possibility of working remotely, increase their chances of recruiting and retaining better talent.
One of the main challenges faced by teams of organizations that work remotely is communication. Collaboration among members is directly affected; so is the commitment and sense of belonging to the organization. Bonds between coworkers are more difficult to establish and cultivate, and with that, some activities that occur spontaneously in an office environment are lost: brainstorming that could come up in an after-office get-together or around the coffee machine, an encounter between colleagues to set up a meeting to deal with unexpected issues. The challenge: finding new ways to participate so that the team works well together. It’s essential for organizations.
Here we share six good practices to improve the communication of remote teams.
1 – Establish clear and general guidelines
Guidelines and protocols are essential for any team member to know how to proceed given any situation and for everyone to be on the same wavelength.
Some relevant matters that you can include in your protocols and regulations:
- Use tools and programs that everyone can or should use. It minimizes distractions and avoids misunderstandings.
- Organize a specific work schedule to establish a routine. This increases productivity and keeps the team coordinated.
- Determine available times for meetings and conferences. These moments are vital to build confidence and strengthen the team’s cooperation.
- Share preestablished waiting times for responses. It favors effective collaboration and time management.
- Keep the team up to date with the projects and new activities. This allows a constant workflow.
2 – Choose one communication tool for everyone
The idea is for everyone to get involved effectively during work hours. Even when it’s a task of development and individual responsibility, there’s an effective teamwork that gives the final product a sense of coherence. This is why one unified communication tool for the whole team speeds up work and avoids misunderstandings.
There are many communication tools. It’s convenient to choose one that’s accessible to everyone and can adjust to the characteristics of the company’s organizational culture. If the team members use different communication tools, setting up efficient functioning mechanisms gets very complicated. You can opt for different tools for different tasks, for example Zoom for meetings or conferences and Slack for conversations among coworkers, but this must work in the same way for the whole team.
3 – Use video conference calls appropriately
Face-to-face communication is crucial; it builds ties of friendship and comradery, encourages productivity, and strengthens cooperation. This becomes difficult when the meetings are only through virtual environments.
Video calls and messaging are great, but they have their limitations, especially when file sharing and bringing the team up to speed on projects at the same time. If you use messaging apps or websites to share documents, you incur time loss, and it’s possible that the messages are not transmitted effectively.
This is why it’s advisable to have brief, periodic video conferences for this type of communication.
4 – Establish a project management system
An essential link in communication is provided by the acknowledgment of the tasks and responsibilities of each team member. In short, there needs to be transparency in the workflows. Project management tools like Asana or Trello allow monitoring of these workflows, helping save time and allowing any team member to trace activities, processes, or documents. This way the team can work collaboratively in a simplified manner following clear rules for everyone. It’s much more effective than if each one has to communicate personally with the others involved to set up a process again that he or she is a part of.
5 – Keep the door open to new types of leaderships that are more horizontal and diverse
It’s a metaphor that makes reference to the leadership style that requires a dynamic of remote work to maintain transparency and build organizational identity. Keeping a proactive attitude, encouraging team members to express their concerns, sharing new ideas, or giving suggestions will form bonds of trust which is a plus for the objectives of any organization. This leads to being more respectful and having an environment in which the team members feel valued and satisfied.
6 – Constantly give feedback
Feedback is a great motivator. Positive, constructive comments can change a team for the better. Positive feedback morally strengthens team members, and if it’s constructive, it allows them to improve in their activities. In remote work environments, it’s perhaps even more important to make this a central practice in the company’s activities.
Remote work has come to stay. This new way to work that is already the trend among the biggest businesses of the world offers endless advantages that can raise your company’s levels of productivity and competitiveness.
What does your team do to overcome the communication barriers that arise from remote work?