Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there are more remote teams working around the world than ever before. Even businesses that never thought they would be using the remote working strategy have been forced to, and in many ways, it’s paying off for a lot of businesses.
However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without complications, especially when you’re referring to communications. In today’s guide, I’m going to talk you through six ways you can improve communications with your remote teams to bring more success to your days.
- Prepare Yourself and Your Team
- Invest in the Right Software Solutions
- Check-In with Your Team
- Communicate Using the Right Channels
- Be Visual Where Possible
- Create Office Culture
Prevention is always, always, always better than cure. It’s the same in healthcare as it is with working in a remote team. The more prepared you can be, and the more potential problems and obstacles you’ve highlighted, the quicker you can take steps to overcome them, which will prevent the problem getting out of control.
Of course, you’re not going to be able to predict every hiccup you come across, but try thinking about things like is everyone going to be able to use the software properly? Do you need to train people? Is everyone compatible? Are there time zones difference you need to be thinking about?
Ask yourself these questions as early on as possible to figure out answers, so you’re not wasting time trying to figure things out while your remote team is already fully working and needing to get on with the work.
You’re not going to be able to communicate with your team around the world if you haven’t got the tools in place to do it. This means making sure you research what tools are out there and what features will work with the kind of communication you’re looking to achieve.
“Think about using Slack, Zoom, or Discord. Of course, email is going to be used, but you might want extras like a WhatsApp group for your team, and cloud-based services to share your documents, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. If you want to collaborate on work, you might need to use suites like Google Docs so everyone can work together,” says Mark Denning, a business writer at Revieweal and OX Essays.
See what’s out there and then work to make that happen and use the solution best suited for you. Don’t forget you might need to provide training to ensure everyone can use the software properly.
This applies both from a business perspective and a social perspective. Since you’re not communicating with your team and running into them here and there like you would be in an office situation; you need to ensure you’re putting special effort into checking in with your team and ensuring there’s time to talk.
By making yourself available and open, you’re allowing people to come to you with problems openly, rather than letting them build up and then becoming even more of a problem.
If you’re trying to share a client brief with someone in your team, it would be so incredibly ineffective to communicate it all via a text message. A better approach would be via a phone call or video call.
Always make sure you’re sharing information and communicating using the best possible format of communication to help get the message across and minimise the risk of misunderstanding.
“Whether you’re using webcams during meetings, or screen sharing PowerPoints during presentations, it’s important to make sure you’re as visual as possible. Sure, writing communication via text is fine in some cases, but it can quickly wear out because people aren’t connecting with human beings, just text on a screen,” explains Terry Jenkins, a lifestyle blogger at Study demic and Academized.
You need to make sure you’re forming a connection between members of your remote team.
We’ve already explored how remote working is not like working in an office. You can’t just bump into people and ask how they are or how their days are going, which means, as we said above, you need to take special effort to ensure that’s happening. A great way to do this is to create an online office culture.
Whether you’re setting up social channels in your Slack workspace or having a video meeting where people can just hang out and chat, maybe play some online games, or even just connecting with people on a one-on-one basis, it’s so important to make sure you’re connecting your team and treating them as a human being, not just a cog in the machine.
By bearing all these points in mind while you’re working with your remote team, you’re dramatically reducing the chances that something’s going to go wrong and problems are going to occur. The more proactive you can be in making things work, the better results your team is going to achieve.
Kristin Herman is a business and remote working consultant and project manager at Writemyaustralia.com and topcanadianwriters.com online writing services. She helps businesses set up new departments and writes articles for online magazine and blogs, such as Studentwritingservices.com, and others.