14 Effective Communication Skills For Remote Teams

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Effective Communication Skills For Remote Teams

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Using effective communication skills when working on a remote team is a challenge for many employees and employers. Communication is one key element of business, and with people working from remote locations, communication can be critical. If you want your team to work cohesively, you need to ensure that everyone is communicating properly.

1. Setup a Proper Work Environment

Businesses should always keep in mind the importance of a proper work environment. If the employee works in an uncomfortable workplace or space, the work will suffer. Communicating will be more difficult if you work in a challenging workspace.

According to Maid Sailors maid service in Jersey City, the cleaning demand for homes is growing due to the booming work-from-home setup for many businesses. More and more remote workers want their space cleaned and ready to work without worrying about interruptions.

2. Set Expectations

To maintain an effective communication skills plan with your remote team, you must set expectations first. Needing communication from your team while working remotely shouldn’t mean that your team feels like they should be on-call and available for communication 24/7.

With that said, you should organize a time to talk with your team to discuss when you expect them to be reachable and easy to contact. It should also include the formalities for reaching out and asking for people’s time.

It should also communicate to everyone the freedoms that they have to their time so that it shows that you know that just because they’re working remotely doesn’t mean that they’re always readily available at all times.

3. Craft an Internal Newsletter

A great way to maintain company loyalty is by ensuring that your employees are updated with the company news. When they’re working in an office, it’s easier to hear about company news as it’s passed around in the office, but it’s not as easy when you’re working from home. Therefore, you should look for an alternative to spreading company news.

You can do that by crafting an internal newsletter and sending it out to the company employees. You don’t have to do this very often. You don’t even have to send one out every week. Instead, you can send the company newsletter once a month to update everyone on the general company events and news.

You want to make sure that you give everybody the freedom that they need to do the work that you assigned to them. However, you still need to make sure that you know how employees are doing during the workday, so creating regular check-ins should be a normal part of your day.

4. Ensure Regular Check-ins

You want to make sure that you give everybody the freedom that they need to do the work that you assigned to them. However, you still need to make sure that you know how employees are doing during the workday, so creating regular check-ins should be a normal part of your day.

The best way to make sure that regular check-ins are more helpful than intrusive is by ensuring that your team knows that you’re going to have a routine check-in. As we mentioned before, setting expectations is a great way to make sure that your check-ins are expected and not just random occurrences that make your team get out of their working groove.

Also, creating a daily activity report template that tracks a project’s general tasks can help you see if there are any hiccups along the way that you could immediately address.

5. Use the Right Tools

If you want to work well and maintain effective communication skills with your remote team, investing in communication or project management tools is a good idea. Luckily, there are several digital software, apps, and tools that you can invest in and use for your team to ensure that your work is as efficient as possible.

You can have tools for project management so you can oversee how everyone is finishing their task. It would help if you also had messaging tools to ensure efficient and organized communication between your team and clients.

Here is a list of digital tools that you might find helpful.

Messaging Tools

  • Slack
  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Discord
  • Microsoft Teams

Project Management Tools

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Airtable
  • Zoho Projects
  • ClickUp

Other Digital Collaboration Tools

  • Monday.com
  • Nectar
  • Facebook Workplace
  • Bit.ai
  • Adobe XD (For Design Collaborations)
Using Effective Communication Skills Online

6. Switch to Video Calls

According to a Harvard Business Review article, you can separate the types of distance that remote teams experience into three categories: physical, operational, and affinity.

Physical distance refers to distance as well as time. Operational distance refers to the size of your team, skill level, and availability. Lastly, Affinity distance refers to emotional and mental connections. When you work remotely, you have to think about the distance you have to overcome, and one way to overcome that is by being more comfortable with video calls.

Voice calls can help overcome some of the physical and operational distance issues, but video calls can be more impactful to overcome affinity issues truly. Seeing your team’s emotions, reactions, and actions can help people create a better emotional and mental connection.

7. Create a Virtual Water Cooler

Holding video conferences often involve levels of formality, even when the real-world in-office equivalent of the conversation tends to be more casual if anything. It isn’t easy to virtually replicate such an informal atmosphere because calls have to be arranged to happen, which already lends that formality to it innately.

Although it’s harder to initiate the same casual atmosphere virtually, you can always try to do so by creating a virtual “water cooler” moment. For example, you can organize an informal team break where everyone can hang out and talk together for a set time of the day. You can also organize virtual team-building activities or even create virtual clubs to foster that connection with one another.

8. Consider Your Tone

To be effective in communication, especially virtually, you need to be more aware of the tone that you convey with your messages. You don’t need to be too conscious of your tone, but having some level of self-awareness can help you avoid any misunderstandings.

For example, concise and one-word replies ending in periods can feel cold and rude, especially on messaging apps. On the other hand, for formal email communication, adding exclamation points might add a level of overexcitement that you didn’t mean to convey.

By being aware of your tone, you can easily avoid misunderstandings online.

9. Provide Encouragement

There are many different ways to encourage your team to stay motivated even if they’re working remotely. You can start by looking for creative ways to reward your employees. Some people’s chosen project management or collaboration digital tools also come with perks or features such as incentives.

For example, Microsoft Teams has an Incentives App where you can indicate a prize that a team member can earn using the points that they accumulate through the accomplishment of specific tasks within the Teams tool. It’s an exciting way of gamifying, so to speak, the way your employees can feel rewarded for their hard work.

Zoom Meeting

10. Mind Your Virtual Body Language

Something similar to considering your tone, which we covered before, would be your virtual body language. When you’re working virtually, it might be harder to convey the unspoken communication part of regular communication. Therefore, you should make sure that you find a way to make up for that.

For example, when communicating with others through instant messaging, especially your team members and coworkers, don’t hesitate to use more emojis if you feel that your sentence’s tone can be misinterpreted.

You want to make sure that you’re communicating as clearly as possible to avoid having to clarify or adding unnecessary hiccups in your workplace due to misinterpretations.

11. Advocate for Proper Writing

Although emojis can be welcome, it’s still a good idea to ensure the rest of the message is well-written. Avoid slang and shorthand versions of certain words. Now is the best time to be over-communicating your intentions because of just how much slower it is to operate when you’re working remotely.

There’s no need to be overly grammatically correct, but one shouldn’t be as lenient with communication rules if it makes communicating more confusing for some people. As long as your goal is to be clear and concise, it should help your written communication be more effective.

12. Remember the Three C’s

With remote team communication, remember the three Cs: be Clear, consistent, and concise.

When you communicate clearly, that should ensure that your recipient understands what you mean. Consistent communication makes people more comfortable and used to the communication tools and routine required for efficient remote work. Lastly, effective communication skills ensure that there are fewer words in your messages that could add to the confusion.

Effective Communication Skills Feedback

13. Provide Real-time Feedback

Another form of communication that is important for efficient work even when working remotely would be feedback from both sides. It would help if you encouraged everyone to give you feedback on the working method and style of the team and what they might want to change. At the same time, give your team feedback on what they could be doing better.

When creating feedback for your team, don’t just point out the “mistakes.” Don’t also forget to show how they can solve those “mistakes” that they make to solve these issues as soon as possible proactively.

14. Foster Personal Connections

Effective communication skills become more effective between a team with a personal and deeper understanding of how others communicate and operate. Therefore, you want to find personal connections with your team as much as possible. There are many ways you can do that.

For example, you can use your virtual background as a great starting conversation to discuss with one another. You can even have a theme to encourage people to customize their background and discuss the story behind each background photo.

Final Thoughts

Providing your team with effective communication skills, creating communication alternatives, and aiming to be as straightforward as possible is the core of what it takes to communicate with your remote team effectively. Therefore, you should keep these concepts in mind and apply the tips listed above so that your team can still be a well-oiled machine despite working far away from one another.

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Jacky Xu
Jacky Xu
Jacky Xu is the Head of Partnerships for Maid Sailors maid service Jersey City, a top-rated office cleaning service provider. As a partnership manager, he loves working with the sales team and training them to manage client relationships that lead to extended contracts and referrals.
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