Remote teams have become the de facto norm for every organization since the epidemic. Organizations all over the world must put the best remote team communication tactics into practice to keep up with the evolving workplace.
Today, 56% of businesses worldwide permit remote work, and 16% of businesses are entirely remote, according to Owl Labs. Work-from-home usage increased by 173% between 2005 and 2018, according to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics. When the pandemic struck in 2020, this ratio grew dramatically; according to Gartner, 88% of firms encouraged or made it required that employees work from home. These figures suggest that working remotely is gradually becoming the norm in many firms, thus managers must develop excellent communication skills with remote teams.
This blog provides you with 9 recommendations for communicating with remote teams to assist you in overcoming any difficulties you may encounter.
You might be unsure about why you should pay attention to us. Relevant is an authority on working remotely. Before it became popular, we were producing excellent software products remotely. Because we understand how crucial communication is when working remotely, we have put together this little piece of advice for you.
How is communication with remote teams different?
Many managers could counter that there isn't much of a difference in terms of successful communication between local teams and remote teams. They would advocate meetings—the preferred form of communication for group members who are physically close to one another.
However, there have been several criticisms of the overuse of meetings and how they reduce productivity over the years. Increasing meetings with your remote teams may not be the answer if they don't work for teams that are physically close to one another.
It may be crucial to comprehend some of the faults businesses make before going into how to improve remote team communication.
9 remote team communication strategies
The most crucial steps you should take to create an efficient communication process with remote teams are covered in this section. These are remote team communication best practices that enable efficient remote teamwork.
Which communication technique is very useful for communicating with remote workers?
The answer is right here:
1. Pick the proper tools
You are not the only one who has wondered how to get beyond communication barriers on a remote team. Utilize the remote team communication technologies that are already in place first. You have a wide variety of tools at your disposal for communication for remote teams, each with a specific function. It can be difficult to choose the finest communication tools for remote teams, but several internet lists can assist you.
2. Teach users how to use these tools
Even with the best remote team communication tools, success is not guaranteed. To make the most of these tools, your team members need to be trained on their use. It frequently means that you may need to invest time to train your team members on how to utilize these technologies to their fullest potential.
You can also include guidelines for how they should apply these rules. For instance, you can decide how they can share their files or tools with people who aren't on your staff while being safe by including strong passwords.
3. Establish an online workplace culture
Your employees will feel more at ease in the office if they engage in office cooler talks. However, what do you do while leading software development teams remotely? Office culture can be developed online. You can do the following actions;
Create avenues for official and unofficial communication for remote teams. These unofficial channels can be used to have fun, chat about problems that people face daily, and share memes.
Consider your tone carefully. Your comment can sound respectful by adding some context, which will make it sound less impolite. For instance, it would be better to say, "Send the final document asap," rather than, "The client expects the document by the end of the day, so send it asap."
Plan time for family time. You can plan a regular time to get together and catch up. Encourage members to speak freely during this time without showing disrespect. Members can learn how to be more considerate of one another and voice issues during this time.
4. Establish communication standards
Creating communication rules can improve the efficiency of remote team leadership. You may, for instance, list the different message types that each medium is capable of conveying.
Additionally, you can specify when channels of communication are open and closed. Finally, you may decide what is and isn't regarded properly. These rules can be put into a manual on communication standards that are provided to every employee.
5. Select asynchronous messaging
A University of California, Irvine study found that it will take you longer than 20 minutes to resume working following an interruption. Companies that selected synchronous communication have found that every time a message is sent, their employees are disturbed. The team member may take a while to resume work if there are frequent disruptions.
This problem can be resolved by favoring asynchronous communication over synchronous communication. The key distinctions between synchronous and asynchronous communication are displayed in the table below.
6. Incorporate visual elements into written communication
Long documents might be tiresome to read when sent. In contrast, organizing documents with charts and infographics can make them more palatable and simple to read.
Images will also be simpler to recall, especially if they summarize the written material. You may help team members stay focused by adding visuals to your documents and presentations to break up the monotony of words.
7. Specify expectations and timelines clearly
Many managers micromanage, claims a leadership expert, out of concern that their team members may do something to damage their reputation. When dealing with a physical team, the manager may micromanage, but it can occasionally be more challenging when working with a dispersed development or remote team. Some managers continue to make the effort.
These managers can maintain control by dividing up the task, assigning it, and establishing deadlines and expectations using one or more of the collaborative technologies indicated above.
By doing this, they have effectively communicated their expectations to each team member and may stop watching their backs. The fact that the task has been divided will allay their concern that the team will make a mistake and give the individuals more breathing room to work.
8. Honor the diversity among team members
There will inevitably be some discrepancies between you and the software development team members you hire from another nation. Take your time to educate yourself on the existing racial and religious divides.
With this information, you may create an environment that encourages their work while honoring and respecting everyone's individuality. You should also make timetables that are convenient for you and the team while accounting for any time zone variances.
9. Schedule check-ins on a regular basis
Even though they may have a poor reputation, meetings are unavoidable. You must strike a balance between having too few check-ins and too many.
Check in frequently with your team members, especially team leaders, to make sure everything is running smoothly and to resolve any issues they might be having.
Common mistakes to avoid when working with a remote team
Here is a list of the top seven communication blunders you might make when working with a remote team:
1. Lack of planning
While unexpected meetings may occasionally be required, they shouldn't be a regular occurrence. Planning will help your team members be more prepared for the meeting, which will increase its effectiveness.
For instance, it might make it possible for them to assemble all the papers required for the conference.
Additionally, it might help them avoid interruptions, which are one of the biggest communication problems remote team management leaders encounter. You must have seen videos where the child needs a snack while their father is trying to give a presentation and the dog is racing around the room.
Even if you can't avoid these difficulties, you can lessen their impact. Your team members can prepare in advance so they can focus entirely during the meeting.
2. Ignorance of time zones
These days, hiring remote developers who reside in other nations is not unusual. The working hours of you and your remote development team may overlap due to different time zones.
Finding the best times for meetings where everyone can attend comfortably can be aided by effective communication.
3. Not honoring different religions or civilizations
Additionally, you can be working with a remote team whose culture and religion are very dissimilar from your own.
Educating the team about the specifics of each member's culture and religion at a meeting is one technique to get everyone on the same page. Opening lines of communication can make everyone feel at home and secure.
4. Demanding multitasking employees
Working on multiple things at once is a surefire way to hinder communication. Only 2.5% of those evaluated could multitask, according to one research. Extrapolating from this data suggests that only a very small portion of your population is capable of multitasking, while the majority is not.
Therefore, each team member must try to focus on one task at a time, especially during meetings. This can reduce the need for pointless repetitions and follow-up inquiries about meeting topics and create great remote employees.
Micromanagement carries several risks. Micromanagement is ineffective when used with physical teams and is ineffective when used with remote teams. Establishing superior remote team communication techniques is a preferable option to micromanaging.
The future is remote, isn’t it?
More and more businesses are using remote work, either totally or partially. According to Entrepreneur, a lot of well-known organizations will permit remote work for their staff in 2020. Some businesses, including Hitachi and Zillow, are thinking about letting some of their workers work from home full-time.
Over 80% of respondents to a GitLab study believed that remote work will increasingly become the norm in the future, and up to one-third of those respondents claimed they would quit their jobs if they were unable to work remotely.
These figures, along with those at the start of the article, suggest that businesses should get ready for remote labor to become commonplace.
These businesses must establish remote communication policies, make tool purchases, and acquire knowledge of best practices to operate efficiently with their remote employees in order to get ready for this change.
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