Remote working is here to stay, so leaders need effective communication strategies. Here are seven tips from our 'Etiquette' guide to help you to keep your colleagues’ spirits up
1 Open communication flow
According to Forbes, frequent communication is key to build trust and unlock the maximum potential of remote teams. As office-based interactions are no longer an option, the concept of exchanging ideas, brainstorming, and collaborative problem solving is crucial for teams to stay close together even when they are apart. Experts suggest complementing emails and text messages with regular video conferences to connect team members in real-time.
2 Rules of engagement
As leaders, it is crucial to set up communication guidelines that best suit your teams. “Emails are good for sending information, but not for collaboration,” says Dr. Beat Buhlman, Evernote General Manager. “If the topic requires clarity and sensitivity, or benefits from an energetic exchange of ideas, then schedule a call.” If your team has yet to set ground rules for communication, here’s how to start.
3 Create smart goals together
Instead of continually tracking your team’s progress, strive instead to measure results. Establish smart goals to improve communication, drive focus, and maintain accountability. Here are four strategies for communicating measurable goals in remote teams.
4 Stay organised
To compensate for the lack of face-to-face interactions, remote teams are scheduling more meetings to stay aligned and connected. The increase in communication requires extra attention to detail. Use diaries and task management apps, along with project tracking tools such as Trello, to stay organised. Often not everyone will be present at meetings and hitting the record button or taking turns in notetaking helps avoid duplication of tasks.
5 Maintain healthy boundaries
Today, remote teams are tempted to work longer hours without the natural breaks we get in an office environment, such as a lunch, exercise, or socialising hour. This approach will lead to burn out… fast. Set healthy communication boundaries, such as no text messages on weekends or emails only for emergencies. Learn here how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy communication limits at work.
6 Host office hours
Most decision-making processes do not merit a full meeting or long chain of emails. Some remote team leaders have opted for “office hours” each week to blast through questions and discuss concerns that may be addressed in 10 minutes or less. To learn how to set up your own virtual office hours, click here.
7 Be mindful and inclusive
Visual cues may be hard to recognise in virtual settings, even with the best video conferencing tools. Leaders should often pause to invite questions and hear everyone’s thoughts to build a more inclusive remote work culture.