We all know the importance of communication. They rightly say “communication is key” in every aspect of life – but in a remote team it’s vital.
Regardless of whether you’re arranging a meeting, discussing sales numbers, emailing or on a call to clients or sharing the status of a venture to your manager, communication is at the beginning of everything that you’ll do at work.
Every year more businesses move to flexible and remote workforces. According to remote work statistics from 2019, 16% companies exclusively hire remote workers, while another study confirms 63% of companies have some remote workers.
Communication isn’t harder with remote teams, but your approach needs to be different. Even with advanced communications tools available like Skype, Slack and Zoom, it is important to have a good communication strategy in place, to ace the art of communication with remote workers.
Theo Gold, author of The Communication Bible says that success comes with effective communication. “Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.”
Many employers think that it is hard to communicate effectively with remote workers, but the right approach can make it no challenge at all. Here are three ways to bridge the virtual gap between remote workers and employers.
There are a lot of communication tools that can make communication effective and easy – your challenge is to choose the right platform. Your team, both internal and remote, should ideally use the same platforms to communicate effectively. Instead of a dedicated project management and communication tool, 41% of remote workers have no other choice than Skype and texting. Implementing tools like Basecamp or Slack saves time and money for your team and your organization alike.
You should also ensure that your whole team is using the same calendar and meeting apps. External meeting invites with your remote team can easily be missed and it can get confusing quickly when your team is not on the same scheduling platform. Tools like Assembla and Trello can streamline collaboration and increase productivity and performance.
Clearly Define Your Remote Workers’ Responsibilities
The first step of beginning any project is to define responsibilities and set expectations; the same is true with your remote workers. Responsibilities and expectations should be defined at the start of the role and at the start of every project. For example, if you are a performance marketing agency, and you have a client who wants to increase their ecommerce sales by 200% in the next quarter, you should clearly explain this goal to your entire team. From that starting point, every team member should have defined roles, goals and tasks.
Use the Right Methods to Communicate
Imagine you have a ton of information to share with an employee, but you are too busy to write a lengthy email. If a quick phone call could clear things up, then it may be the right method of communication for this situation.
While emails remain one of the best ways to convey information about complex situations, they aren’t always the right choice. Instant messaging can be ideal for discussing specific aspects of a project with your remote team, but if you have a lot of information to share, or you think a discussion is necessary on certain topic, then a video chat or a call is what you should be using. Remember, even the best communication methods can have negative impacts, if not used appropriately.
Communicating effectively with your remote team is not difficult – it’s just a matter of knowing what the right tool is for the information you want to convey.