Seven Communication Practices of Successful Remote Teams

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” — Anthony Robbins

It’s been said that communication is the prime shaft that runs the machine of a distributed company. Looking at the current situation where millions of businesses have switched to remote working, we cannot even think of operating our remote teams without a well-defined communication plan in place.

If you lead a remote team, no matter how small or large its size is, you might have already noticed the accentuated importance of communication. After all, remote work seems to be in for a long haul, and keeping every team member in the loop is vital to move forward towards achieving a common goal.

As a Chief Executive Officer of ProofHub, I leave no stone unturned to lay a well-defined communication strategy for all my remote employees. By using the right channels and tools, I and my team stay on the same page so that there’s a constant flow of information, with no possibility of break-downs or gaps in the team communication.

I strongly believe that effective business communication is critical for the success of any company and here’s why:

  • Improves employee engagement
  • Eliminates email overload
  • Improves inter-departmental communication
  • Lower employee turnover rates
  • Attracts top talent
  • Improves customer service
  • Ensure transparency
  • Build a more dedicated team

On the other hand, potential disasters waiting to happen due to a lack of an effective communication policy with the business environment. Some of these risks include:

  • Disorganized schedules
  • Lack of mutual trust within employees
  • Unclear roles and responsibilities
  • Basic tasks fall to the wayside
  • Employees’ resentment grows
  • Increased employee turnover rate
  • Clients feel neglected and lose interest

Over the years, I’ve closely monitored how successful remote teams communicate to ensure optimal productivity. Here, I am highlighting six of the best communication practices that you can implement within your organization to yield the desired results.

  1. Use Dedicated Communication Channels

Before your remote team starts working, it’s important to plan how your remote team members are going to communicate right from the onset. This involves choosing and setting up different channels of communication for different purposes like virtual meetings, regular communication, casual talks between employees, and collaboration on projects.

As there is a range of different tools for information sharing, it’s important to choose reliable software that is easy to use as well as compatible with both PCs and mobile devices. You can even take feedback from your remote workers on what they think would be the best way to communicate within the team for different purposes

2. Follow Specific Guidelines on Business Communication

Prompt business communication indeed helps to improve productivity by removing doubts as well as saving time. However, that doesn’t mean that the “always-on” approach should be allowed to set in. Successful remote teams adhere to laid down norms for communication, which means that team members avoid cutting into each other’s time with frequent emails, phone calls, and messaging.

Employees can set their status to “busy” or “available” to let each other know what’s the right time to talk, and should not hesitate in telling someone if they are too busy to talk and ensure they will get back once they’re free from work.

3. Regular Virtual Team Meetings via Video Calling

Another essential practice of efficient remote teams is that they schedule regular virtual team meetings via video conferencing through dedicated applications like Google Hangouts, Skype, Google Meet, Slack, etc. These virtual meetings help remote employees feel connected when an in-person meeting is not possible.

It’s best to schedule virtual meetings in the morning before employees can start working on their tasks. Team managers can ask for updates from every member and also share feedback. Video conferencing gives clues like facial expressions and body language, which helps employees to understand each other in a better way.

4. Instant Chat/ Telephonic Conversations

When instant communication is required between employees at the same time, it’s best to use a live chat feature, especially for remote workers dispersed across different geographical locations. Good old-fashioned phone calls are also a good option where instant communication is the need of the hour.

Synchronized communication tools are a good option when things need to happen quickly, or when team members need to ask questions and get immediate replies. It also enables participants to share ideas and get active feedback.

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5. Set up a Virtual Water Cooler For Casual, Non-work Related Chats

For distributed teams, working side by side, having lunch or coffee together or chatting casually with each other is simply out of the picture. Still, they are working together from remote locations for five days a week and they should also get an opportunity to mingle with each other.

How do you do that when you’re managing or a part of a virtual team? Set up a dedicated online space for casual, just-for-fun conversation between employees. It can be on Facebook, WhatsApp, or any other social media platform that is used by all. It will also help to keep out friendly conversations from professional discussions.

6. Utilize The Right Collaboration Tools

Working together as a part of a remote team is not just about communication with each other. It’s more than that. It also incorporates sharing information and working jointly on several tasks. Collaboration is the backbone of any in-office or remote team, so you’ll need to use the right task management tools for tracking progress and promoting accountability.

This is where an all-in-one project management software like ProofHub can be of great help for both team managers and members. With all the powerful features in one centralized location, every member of the team can stay on the same page to easily organize, manage, and collaborate on tasks where multiple people are working together.

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7. Celebrate Success /Recognize Each Other’s Accomplishments

Whether in-house or remote teams, at the end of the day, it all boils down to working together as a team and appreciating each other’s hard work. Remote workers can feel disconnected due to a lack of physical interaction with each other.

However, recognizing good work on video calls or email can energize individuals or the whole team on their accomplishments will motivate them to work harder. Every worker wants to feel valued and appreciated, and good managers understand this fact. As a group, you learn from failures and celebrate success collectively.

Conclusion

In days of remote working, it can be said that using the right tools and strategies is vital for effective communication flow. By applying the practices followed by successful remote teams across the globe, there’s no reason why you and your team can work together as effectively as in-office teams do.

Just keep those lines of communication open and easily accessible for all! Good luck.

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Internet Entrepreneur, CEO of SDP Labs and Founder of ProofHub