As a consequence of the current pandemic, companies are abandoning office work. Microsoft encouraged employees to work from home, Google cancelled conferences, and Twitter announced yesterday that their employees could work from home “forever.”
Companies strongly recommend that employees stay at home for the time being, especially if they are showing any signs of a cold. Fortunately for these first-time rem0te workers, working from home mean more flexibility. You no longer need to sit in traffic to get to the office on time, meaning more time can be allocated to third-party projects. The list of advantages goes on and on, but it is important not to forget about productivity, efficiency, and proper communication — because your success depends on it.
This is why it is necessary for businesses to change their current communication model. The levels of communication you have with your remote teams will be the crux of your team’s success. It doesn’t matter how diligently your employees work or where in the world they are based if you haven’t nailed the communication skills you need. Without organized, top-quality communication, the team simply won’t work.
To help you avoid the main mistakes that remote teams make in terms of communication, here are five habits you can develop to help your team streamline their operations in a way that’s properly communicated company-wide.
1 – Manage your team properly
One of the biggest problems that remote team managers face is making sure that everybody is pulling their weight. After all, it’s not like you can simply peer into their office cubicle to see what they’re up to.
So, you’ll need a way to make sure your team is sticking to their tasks. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using a software tool, such as Asana. By using an organizational tool, you’ll be able to delegate the tasks that need to be completed amongst your team with live feedback on how they’re doing. This means you can remain in control of everything that’s going on.
2 – Master the art of writing emails
Instead of standing by the water cooler and catching up on everything that’s going on, your email inbox will become the new cooler spot. However, if you’re writing poor quality emails to your team, not only is this going to waste your time, it’s simply not a very effective way of communicating.
Instead, practice your writing so you can be sure that every email you send is grammatically correct and straight to the point. This means proofreading and editing each email before you hit send. You can even take a class online to help you enhance your writing skills or have your work read over by a professional writer if you’re composing something more substantial.
3 – Write properly
If you’re not writing properly, it’s so easy to miscommunicate, and this is where problems will start to arise. For example, if you’re using poor grammar and punctuation, the sentence you meant to say can be very easily misinterpreted and the original message will be lost.
Always ensure that your writing skills are the best they can be to ensure that this doesn’t happen. For example, you could use online grammar resources, such as State of Writing or Grammarly to brush up on your writing knowledge. Likewise, you can use online writing guides, such as Boom Essays, to ensure you’re communicating in the right way and using the best format possible.
4 – Be direct with your messages
It’s important to be direct with your messages. Keep things short and sweet, and don’t write messages that are 1,000 words long when your main points can be summarized comprehensively in a couple of sentences.
This is a much more direct form of communication, which leaves little room for miscommunication. To practice this skill, you can use online tools like Easy Word Count or Academadvisor to track your word count in real time. When using messages, try to keep messages below 100 words if you can.
5 – Use dedicated communication channels
As already mentioned, there are plenty of communication tools and channels available for you to make talking to your remote team as easy as possible. To make things even easier, why not dedicate each channel for a specific purpose?
For example, you may use Skype, Slack, and email to communicate daily with your team. Why not organize these channels into Skype for group meetings, Slack for social media queries, and email for project updates? Obviously, you’ll need to adapt these to suit your business, but it can be extremely beneficial and your days will become a lot more productive if you use certain channels for certain purposes.
Nobody said that running a remote team is easy work, but it doesn’t have to be as painstaking and stressful as many businesses make it out to be. Get into your communication habits and routines early on and make sure that everyone knows their place so you, as a team, can get things done even from afar.