Effective Communication Strategies for Remote Teams
Communication is one of the most critical aspects of a successful team. As if keeping up with communication strategies on-site wasn’t challenging enough, now managers have to figure out how to perfect their communication with remote teams. As a leader, you must understand the nuances and challenges of communicating in a remote team setting.
Remote teams communicate differently than on-site ones. There are more opportunities to collaborate in the office, but downsides include distractions, noise, and limited space. After two years of pandemic-style working, communication strategies are changing. These effective communication strategies will keep your team more connected.
1. Decide which and how tools will be used
From Slack to Zooms and Microsoft Teams, you can use a gazillion tools to communicate and manage a remote team. As teams try to stay connected, it’s easy to get carried away and have tools overload. To narrow down your tools, sit down and analyze the different features and functionalities. For example, both Slack and Zoom have video features. Which one should be used for video calls?
Create a tools document that explains the ones your team will be using to communicate and how they should use each tool. By doing this, you help everyone feel more comfortable while you ensure some level of control over the various communication channels.
2. Avoid micromanaging
At first, organizations fell down the rabbit hole of daily video stand-ups. As time progressed, remote teams found these less and less helpful. Afternoon check-ins, employees felt micromanaged and over-watched.
A big part of creating effective communication strategies in a remote environment is to trust your teammates. Avoid bombarding them with calls and emails about their work – that’s what your project management system is there for. Instead of calls and constant check-ins, rely on tools to collaborate and track progress.
3. Leverage one-to-one communications
Not everyone feels comfortable talking in a group environment. Analyze your team and recognize individuals that prefer one-to-one communications to share their views. Turn to messaging tools like WhatsApp or Slack to have private conversations about your employee’s status, their feelings about workload, and questions they might not voice in team settings.
4. Set a virtual water cooler room
While you can try creating virtual team-building opportunities, these often require time and planning others don’t have. Instead, think about setting up channels that work as water cooler rooms. The perfect spot for coworkers to chat about their favorite TV show at the moment or to share their latest take-out obsession.
Create the virtual equivalent of the coffee or water cooler room by setting up a channel for your team to talk about all things NOT work-related. Let them know the purpose of the channel and the type of topics everyone is encouraged to share. From their favorite memes to what their happy hour plans are, this space is as accessible as it gets.
5. Be available as a leader
Lastly, you must set up a support system for your team. As a leader, you want to be available for your team to answer questions or at least let them know you’re working on getting those answers. Since people respond differently to communication channels, be available via email, chat, or video so your team can reach you as they see fit.
If you must, set a schedule for when you’re available to take calls, emails, and messages. This way, your team will know when and how to reach you for their needs.