The pandemic took remote work from a pleasant perk enjoyed by a handful of professionals to a global requirement overnight. Since then, the necessity of remote work has ebbed, but many companies have continued to use it through both hybrid and fully-remote settings.
While this has plenty of benefits, remote work isn’t flawless. It requires nuanced handling from leaders and clear, effective communication between team members.
If your remote team members are struggling to stay on the same page, here are three quick reminders of how you can clean up communication in a virtual work setting.
Consider All of Your Communication Channels
There are countless ways to communicate in the internet era. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses, too.
An email, for instance, is an easy way to send a quick note, document, or piece of data. A Zoom call is a good way to engage in more intimate, verbal communication. Even something like a podcast can help leaders effectively connect with their team members. Good communication requires using each of these in the right ways, times, and settings.
“It’s important for leaders to look for unique ways to improve their internal communications, including podcasts,” explains Rockwell Felder, founder of the cloud-based podcast platform SquadCast, “Something as simple as a daily briefing or a monthly internal ‘newsletter episode’ can help disseminate important information throughout an organization in an easily digestible format.”
From emails to video chats, texting to podcasts, consider all of the communication channels you have available. Then use them to creatively address your remote team’s internal communication.
Embrace Asynchronous Communication
Remote teams aren’t just separated by physical space. They’re often in different time zones, as well. This can make syncing up real-time communication challenging. The question that leaders need to ask, however, is how important synchronous interactions are.
Asynchronous communication is an alternative form of interaction between team members. It takes away the pressure of real-time collaboration by using non-time-sensitive communication platforms to send messages without expecting immediate responses.
By allowing conversations to take place out of sync, teams avoid wasting time aligning schedules and interrupting workflows. They can stay focused on their current work and resolve issues over time.
Julia Martins, Online Editorial Marketing Manager at Asana, points out that “whether you’re in the office or over Zoom, everyone can benefit from the increased productivity asynchronous communication offers.”
If you’re expecting your remote team members to be present for a lot of business activity in real-time, consider shifting certain non-time-sensitive work into an asynchronous communication format.
Set Clear Expectations
Finally, remember that understanding expectations is a critical part of a well-functioning team — and healthy communication, in particular. If you want your team to communicate the right information, in the right ways, at the right times, you need to make sure they know that, too.
Sarah Magazzo, Digital Marketing Manager for Mondo National Staffing Agency speaks to this when she says, “In any workplace setting — whether it’s in person or remote — it’s important to set clear expectations from the beginning. This includes setting deadlines, agreeing on a communication plan, and defining roles and responsibilities. By setting clear expectations, you can help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.”
If your team is struggling to connect, make sure everyone is on the same page. Set clear expectations regarding how, when, and why each team member should be initiating and responding to a transmission.
Improving Communication in the Remote Work Era
Communication is an essential part of a healthy workplace — especially in the remote work era. If your team is failing to maintain effective, productive conversations, it may be time to re-evaluate your communication protocols.
Are you using the right communication channels for each kind of activity? Are you utilizing asynchronous communication to avoid wasted time? Are you setting clear expectations for how, when, and why your team should communicate with one another?
If you can address these three key areas, you can improve your communication and establish a remote work culture that keeps everyone informed and productive at all times.