Hackernoon logo9 Ways to Master Remote Team Communication Skills by@springworks

9 Ways to Master Remote Team Communication Skills

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@springworksSpringworks

We make recruitment, onboarding and employee engagement seamless and intelligent with empathy.

When you work remotely, your colleagues can only hear you on calls and talk to you over Slack or e-mail. There’s no physical interaction. They can’t see you working at your desk, in the conference room for the meeting, and they especially can’t do a casual chat on their way to the coffee machine.

You’re not working in a physical office anymore, so you need to build a unique way for your colleagues to get to know you personally.

People searching “work from home” and “remote working” are at a five-year high. The majority of the workforce is working from home, so we need to sharpen our remote communication skills. There’s no doubt!

In this guide, you’ll discover 9 remote communication tips. Let’s get started:

1. Create Onboarding and Training Videos

Are you a manager? It’s challenging to train new employees while working from home. And new employees also have a lot of questions and confusion regarding the onboarding process and training.

It is not productive in the short term to take calls every time new hires have questions. So how can you save time and make your process easier?

Create onboarding and training videos that show how to use your company’s culture and standard programs and share these videos with new employees as part of their induction package. They can re-watch these videos when they have any doubts.

2. Use Diagrams and Visuals to Ensure Processes Are Fully Understood

When I try to explain an idea, sometimes I doodle on a piece of paper. And I know if my explanation is making sense by checking the person’s reaction. How does this translate to remote work? 

A good practice is to use diagrams and workflow charts to ensure that process flows are easily understood. Graphical representations have the power to ease understanding and by using simple icons and short sentences, you can explain things simply. 

3. Avoid Boring Text Documents By Using Pictures

While regular work can become monotonous, you can do something about it with imagery. Often long documents become unreadable and impact the productivity of employees as well as their motivation. This is because it looks like a lot of work, and the human brain finds it hard to keep its attention sustained for an extended period. 

In such situations, it is also possible that employees neglect essential details about the work, thus impacting the overall project. Make sure you add pictures and visuals to ease the task.

4. Adopt New Communication Tools

New communication tools can help you say what you want but in a more transparent manner. For example, while many teams use Hangouts to communicate, there are better tools like Slack they can explore. Slack is a better communication tool because it manages your entire workplace from end to end. Be it your Google calendar, monitoring people’s birthdays, or asking their opinions now and then. 

Adopting new communication tools can help significantly in engaging your team and communicating with them more effectively. It can also help break the ice between teammates and make collaboration more seamless and productive. 

5. Prioritize Video Calls

Video calls aren’t meant for spying on you. Most employees keep their videos shut during a meeting as they don’t feel very comfortable. However, while connection issues are genuine, you must connect with your team via video calls once in a while. 

This is because facial cues are the best in displaying emotions, which are, in turn, the building blocks of effective communication.

When you can see people around you, it feels more like a physical workspace and enables you to communicate ideas more clearly. 

For employees, this can be an excellent opportunity to understand the concepts being conveyed better. After all, it is always better to look at the speaker than staring at dark screens. 

6. Hone Your Writing Skills

Writing skills are an essential aspect of communication, no matter what. In an organization, you might not always be able to call people and explain the situation.

Most of the formal work has to be sent via emails and other forms of written communication. Even if you are creating a document for a job assigned to you, writing skills become fundamental to complete it.

Therefore, you must try to hone your writing skills to avoid ambiguity and help people understand more effectively.

7. Respect Your Colleagues’ Working Hours

Always respect your colleagues’ working hours. Your colleagues might have different work hours to yours, depending on time zones, how they structure their day, etc. It is important to remember this, and hold space for your colleagues' work-life balance.

While you should have the same approach in a work environment for a healthy work-life balance, you must respect your team members. This means scheduling meetings, asking for any feedback or report, all within their assigned or chosen work hours.

8. Don’t Forget the “Water Cooler” Chitchat

Water cooler chitchat is an integral part of the work-life balance. While you get to do that in a physical environment, it is difficult in remote work culture. Nonetheless, you can use technology to the rescue. 

Pair up teammates for random coffee during the work hours. A 5-10 minute break with another colleague will help them catch up on various things and feel refreshed. 

Use tools like Trivia to play remote games and virtual quizzes with your colleagues.

9. Commit to One-On-Ones

One of the best practices for effective communication is one-on-one chats with your teammates. Employees might not be comfortable sharing everything in a group, which is why you should connect with them personally. 

Ask them about their day, how they have been feeling lately, and whether they face any challenges. Not only will it keep them motivated but also increase their productivity, knowing their problems are being addressed and efforts recognized. 

Conclusion and FAQs

How would you overcome communication challenges on a remote team?

Create some guidelines on how all remote team members should communicate. Get started by answering these questions:

  • What tools and apps should everyone use?
  • How long is an acceptable wait time for a response?
  • For what issues should email be used, and what items can be addressed via a chat program?
  • Is there a time of day when everyone must be available for an hour or two?

How to help your remote team to improve their communication skills?

Here’s how you can help your team:

  • Use collaboration apps like Slack and MS Teams.
  • Encourage your remote workers to schedule virtual meet-ups to build a personal connection.
  • Schedule chat times and meetings that work for everyone.
  • Set clear and consistent expectations.

As you can see, communicating effectively with your team doesn’t have to be difficult. Just think smart and follow these ideas. Do you have any other remote communication tips to improve communication skills while working remotely? Drop your thoughts here.

Previously published at https://www.springworks.in/blog/remote-communication-tips/

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