Remote working and hybrid working are becoming more common these days. Especially after Covid, many companies have shifted to working remotely completely or in a hybrid setup. Working remotely is more convenient and is increasingly preferred by generation Z. With all its perks, the communication barrier among remote teams is a common and persistent problem faced by all those who work remotely.
Online interactions are very different from in-person interactions. Walking over to your colleague’s cabin or running into someone in the elevator are more organic ways of communicating. Discussing new ideas or criticizing old ones over a cup of coffee is now replaced with scheduling a meeting over Zoom, after taking 20 minutes to find an agreeable time for all. Hence, those working remotely are constantly looking for ways to overcome the communication gap among remote teams.
These changes have significantly affected the way teams work and interact. Team collaboration and transparency have reduced dramatically. This has taken a toll on employee performance and mental health. After all, humans are social animals, we have evolved in a way that we thrive in a more social setup.
Here is a list of practical ways to overcome the communication gap among remote teams.
1. Set up proper communication protocol.
Effective communication is essential for any collaborative effort. The importance of professional communication can not be undermined. When working with a team it is important to have all the people on the same page. As a leader, it is your responsibility to provide a structure for the exchange of ideas that is transparent and easy for everyone to follow.
Here is what you can add to your guidelines-
Make sure there is a standardization of communication tools used by all the members of the team. In simpler words, all the members of the team should use the same platform to schedule meetings. Also, make sure everyone is connected via official email addresses and phone numbers. This makes it much easier to schedule meetings, as well as trace back conversations if and when required.
Set official working hours so that all the employees are available at the same time. This will make scheduling meetings a breeze and increase productivity. Since working hours can be flexible when working remotely, you can set a particular check-in time at the beginning or end of the day. This will make sure everyone is aware of what is going on and can discuss ideas as well as grievances at a particular time every day.
Keep a common calendar for your team so everyone can find all meetings in one place. It is very easy to sync digital calendars, such as Google calendar. You can sync the calendars of all of your team members to avoid clashes while scheduling new meetings. Additionally, the reminder feature comes in handy when you are busy with work and have continuous meetings.
2. Set clear goals and agendas
Remote working is different from working in an office. You have to make sure that everyone is aware of what they are supposed to do. At the beginning of any new project make sure you set clear goals for that project with respect to time. Break these goals further on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. This way you will have a grasp over your work.
You can distribute the daily tasks among your team based on the skills, time, and interests of the employees. When everyone knows what they are supposed to do, it makes it easier for them to deliver. Furthermore, if there is a lag, it is easier to identify exactly, when and who is responsible and what needs to be done.
3. Accept and give feedback
Woking remotely comes with its own set of challenges. These may look different for different people. To make remote working more efficient you can give feedback to your employees as to how they can improve. At the same time, make sure to assimilate the feedback in your practices to make the remote working process slightly easier for everybody.
4. Team engagement and bonding
One of the major drawbacks of working remotely is social isolation. It can be difficult to cope with isolation and loneliness. When working remotely team building sessions and activities become even more important. These can look different, according to the temperament and preference of your team. Some good examples may include playing online games or having a casual discourse with your colleague.
When looking for ways to overcome the communication gap among remote teams, we often overlook the importance of getting to know the people you are working with beyond their job title can profile picture. The better you know your team members the better you understand what they are trying to say.
This may not be a barrier but can significantly reduce the quality of the interactions you are having with your team.
What is overcommunication?
Overcommunication is when you don’t respect the boundaries of your co-workers. We don’t realize how deeply connected we are at all times. This is happening for the first time in human history and can be overwhelming at times.
If your grandfather needed an urgent file from one of his team members after office hours, he had to wait for the next day and ask the said person within office hours. Such is not the case for you and me. If you want something from a co-worker you can drop in a text or email them at any hour of the day. Although this makes things easier, it also makes us bound to reply and work at all hours.
This may be appreciated by some people but not everybody may not be comfortable with the same. So make sure you know your audience and not overstep someone’s boundaries. This is also one way of preserving the quality of your conversations.
If you work remotely and are curious about ways to overcome the communication gap among remote teams, I hope I was able to provide you with a satisfactory answer.
OpenGrowth Hub equips remote teams with the tools they need to function well by enabling virtual collaboration. Aiming to build an effective team while nurturing leadership in each and everyone.
We, at OpenGrowth, are committed to keeping you updated with the best content on the latest trendy topics from any major field. Also, both your feedback and suggestions are valuable to us. So, do share them in the comment section below.