Communication Tips For Remote Teams
Modern workforces are increasingly remote, with employees working from anywhere with a stable Internet connection. It’s no surprise that managing remote teams can be difficult, especially where communication is concerned.
Some small business owners worry that communication will be lacking if they allow employees to work remotely, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, your team needs to talk more than they might in a traditional office.
Luckily, there are tons of tools and strategies that make it easy to communicate, no matter where team members are logging on from. To keep the channels of communication open, here’s what you need to do.
Make sure you have a stable company culture
Company culture is important in any business, but it takes on a special role in a remote team: A strong company culture can help inspire disperate workers to collaborate as a cohesive unit.
Make sure that everyone understands the company’s mission statement and vision. If you don’t have these things, now is the time to create them. You can also schedule team getaways, “happy hours” through Skype, or any other bonding activities you can dream up. As a result, remote workers will feel connected to each other, which makes communication easier.
Set office hours and establish boundaries
Remote doesn’t mean “always available,” but it’s tempting to email and message remote employees during all hours of the day and night. This can lead to frustration and burnout, which is hard to identify in a remote team.
When setting communication expectations it helps to set office hours. Explain to employees that they’re welcome to work outside of business hours if they choose, but that they won’t be expected to respond to questions and comments during all hours of the day and night.
Get the right communication tools
In today’s digital age, you absolutely must have the right tools to streamline the way your team communicates. Some of the tools you might use include:
- Project management. Basecamp, Asana, and other project management tools are vital for keeping a remote team organized.
- Messaging. Slack is a popular messaging tool that can help streamline workflows. You can keep a messaging app open all day long (snoozing notifications when it’s time for deep focus), and it’s like a virtual company water cooler.
- Design. The projects your business works on might need specialty design tools, like InVision.
- Document management. Remote teams need to know where important files are, and everyone should have access. Google Docs is a great option for this task.
- Meetings. Sometimes, you have to share your screen or make video calls. Zoom is a very popular and powerful tool that tends to work better than Skype and other similar services.
- Calendar. You should also have a shared calendar so that everyone can see what the team is working on each day.
The best part? Once you’ve established a strong company culture, set expectations and boundaries, and are using the right tools, keeping communication strong in a remote team won’t seem like such a daunting goal.