Remote work has many incredible advantages. For some, it’s achieving the perfect work-life balance or traveling anywhere they please without compromising their financial freedom. Nevertheless, it also has its own challenges, including effective communication while working remotely. There are many issues surrounding this topic, from time zone issues to having misunderstandings through email.
Effective communication is key to the success of any remote team, as it helps build trust, ensure everyone is on the same page, and prevent misunderstandings. Fortunately, there are now many online resources offering inspiration and guidance on addressing the communication gap with remote teams, whether you’re a manager or a team member seeking to make things better.
Will Cotter is a digital entrepreneur and owner of a string of U.S.-based professional home cleaning companies, the newest of which is FreshSpace Cleaning Service. In this blog, he shares his tried-and-tested techniques for effective communication while working remotely, even around the globe.
Set Up Clear Communication Channels for Your Team to Use Regularly
Use email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and project management tools to keep everyone informed and on track. Define expectations and norms for every team member. Establish expectations for response times, communication protocols, and the overall tone of your interactions.
Promote Positivity, Kindness, Collaboration, and Respect in Your Team Culture
Encourage a supportive and welcoming environment for everyone on the team. Make it a habit to use clear and concise language. Avoid ambiguity and make sure that your messages are easy to understand. Pay attention to what others are saying and ask questions to clarify information and show that you’re engaged. Say “please” and “thank you” when making requests. Provide carefully-worded constructive criticisms when necessary. But don’t forget recommendations on how to improve or address particular problem areas. Have clear and specific employee guidelines that discourage any form of rude or disrespectful form of communication against team members.
Format Emails and Messages Strategically
- Always keep written messages succinct.
- Be specific with your email’s subject line to make it easier to keep tabs on correspondence and progress.
- Write separate emails for different projects. Don’t try to address everything in a single email, so as not to overwhelm and confuse your recipients.
- Break down huge chunks of paragraphs into numbered or bulleted lists.
- Format bold or highlight important items or instructions.
- Don’t hesitate to use smileys and other work-appropriate emojis on messaging apps to indicate a tone that may otherwise be misconstrued.
- Know when a message is better delivered or discussed through a quick call rather than a lengthy email.
- Do not send emails (or expect a response) after office hours, on weekends, or when someone’s on leave.
Indicate an Agenda and Actionable Items for Virtual Meetings
People who work remotely are usually there for the freedom and flexibility it affords them. Understandably, not everyone one a work-from-home setup appreciates or has the energy to endure hour-long video conferencing and phone calls. While regular team meetings are essential to maintaining a sense of connection with other teammates while working remotely, frequent rambling or unnecessary calls can negatively affect your remote team’s productivity and efficiency.
Article written by Braden Norwood
Last updated March 23, 2023