Are you and your team are working remotely now? Are you finding that communicating is difficult when you are not face to face or just down the hall? We give you some tips on communication for remote teams.
As a leader, how, when and what you communicate is more important than ever before. As is your non-verbal communication, even when working remotely. Leaders also need to set expectations about how teams should communicate while working remotely.
As a general rule, frequent communication is a good thing for remote teams, especially those who are used to being co-located in the same office space. Think about how often your team would have informal conversations at work (ie unscheduled chats about challenges you’re facing and what’s coming up) which don’t necessarily happen organically while you’re working remotely.
Inform your team of your expected pattern of team, project and 1:1 meetings and their frequency. You may find that your team needs more collaboration during remote working, so consider implementing a daily morning meeting/huddle.
As a leader, it’s important to share with your team the flavour of each meeting, the role they’re expected to play and provide them with an outline of what the meeting will likely cover. Make sure you and each of your team members are aware of what will be covered in 1:1 meetings.
Will it be the same agenda as it used to be? If yes, that’s great – tell them that – your people are seeking sameness and stability wherever possible right now. While the frequency of communication is important, it’s also crucial to consider how frequent communication between team members could affect productivity.
While each team scenario might be unique, here are some things you’ll need to consider and cover:
- What is the best way for your team to reach you as their leader?
- As a team, will you use email, text, phone calls, an instant messaging (IM) tool or something else?
- How should team members contact each other?
- Will you use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings?
- How should each team member communicate that they are unavailable or in a meeting?
- Which instant messaging (IM) tool will you use – and what should it be used for?
- Do you expect the team to update their status in IM each morning and throughout each day?
- Do you expect your team to send you an IM in the morning when they arrive at their desk?
- When are you available for calls/questions?
- How will you ensure the team IM/chat channel does not become a distraction?
- How can your team be sure they have blocks of time free of distraction during the day?
- How can we make sure communication channels and practices don’t negatively impact our productivity as a team?
We know that communication can be tricky at the best of times. Hopefully, these tips have helped you put some guidelines in place for you and your team to make your working process as smooth as possible.