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A Guide to Remote Work Communication

Remote Work Communication Tools

What is remote work communication and how can it help a remote team? Learn about it in this guide.

The ability to work remotely is synonymous with modern workplace environments. According to statistics, more than 70% of human resource managers agree that providing flexible work environments is key to employee retention.

Over the last ten years, there have been many changes about how, where, and when people can work, considerably influencing how companies hire and communicate.

Proper communication is vital when managing a remote workforce. Remote work communication refers to how a company communicates with its remote employees. This includes how training, information, and materials are shared online to ensure everyone is on board. Companies have to create virtual teams for easy communication and collaboration.

Common types of remote communication include:

  • Video calls
  • Virtual meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Use of online team management software

Managing a remote workforce comes with numerous benefits for an organization with proper communication. This includes lower operational costs and access to a broader talent pool online. Employees also benefit by getting a better work-life balance and higher productivity potential.

Even with all the benefits, certain disadvantages impact remote work communication.

Remote Work Communication challenges

Some of the challenges that can hinder proper communication between remote employees and the management include:

Difficulties in collaboration

Unlike managing a co-located team where you can call a meeting at any time, driving a remote team calls for more time when scheduling meetings. The inability to call a meeting at the drop of a hat can hinder project collaboration unless proper communication channels are implemented.   

Difficulty in creating accountability

It is harder to keep an eye on what the team is working on through observation in a remote work environment, making it hard to create accountability.

Lack of emotional or direct communication

Most online meetings take place without any of the participants turning on their cameras. This hinders them from seeing one another face to face, meaning a meeting can occur without any real human interaction. The lack of direct or emotional communication can sometimes hinder proper communication.

Language barrier

Setting up a remote workspace means a company has access to a larger hiring pool. Sometimes, the best man for a job does not speak the same language fluently, and a language barrier can be a significant stumbling block for communication.

Lack of a professional work environment

Sometimes, remote employees lack the right tools and devices to make remote work communication easier. The lack of proper communication tools like webcams and speakers can make communication difficult in a remote work environment. Lack of access to a reliable internet connection can also make it difficult for a remote team to communicate effectively.

How to ensure productive remote work communication

Set up a home office

It is essential to ensure a well-setup home office to remain productive while working remotely. A functional home office ensures you have an office atmosphere, which brings normalcy and productivity into your new workspace.

You need to ensure your home office has all the necessary equipment to make your work as easy as possible. This includes simple things like having proper lighting, a chair, and a desk or setting up your computer in a comfortable area in the room.

If you are unsure about the items you need for your home office, you can check home office essentials to ensure you have everything you need.

Create clear processes and expectations

For a remote work environment to thrive, team members need to be aware of the processes and expectations. As a team leader, you need to clearly outline your expectations for the team from the beginning to ensure a smooth work environment and avoid frustration. While it is advisable to allow flexibility in working hours, you need to set regular times for check-in meetings and conference calls.

Make in-person video calls

Since meeting physically with a remote workforce is challenging, it is important to prioritize video calls to ensure the team can connect face-to-face in meetings. You can ensure every team member shows up prepared by telling them beforehand.

Prioritizing video calls ensures the team members feel less isolated, especially I the company is just transitioning to remote management. You can also encourage the employees to stay in touch through video calls when collaborating on projects and tasks. This is the best way to foster better communication amongst the team members, which improves productivity and collaboration.

Invest in Remote Work Communication Tools

When managing a remote workforce, you need much more than email services to collaborate with the team. Thanks to advancements in communication technology, you can use many digital tools, such as intranet software or similar communication platforms to ensure easy communication and better collaboration.

Microsoft teams, slack, zoom, and skype are some tools and platforms you can use to keep the communication going with your remote team. Most of these platforms allow sharing files and documents and support voice and video calls. You can also use project management tools like asana and basecamp that enable you to break down projects into smaller manageable tasks for easy progress monitoring.

Communicate in virtual water cooler space

In a typical office setup, information interactions and conversations amongst employees help build the company’s culture while strengthening the sense of camaraderie amongst employees. To ensure this culture is carried on to a remote workspace, you can encourage team members to communicate in virtual water cooler spaces.

A virtual water cooler space is an online space where remote employees can gather and have fun, casual conversations. This can include sharing weekend plans or even discussing the latest TV shows. Hosting these informal spaces within the workspace ensures the employees feel more connected, which further inclines them to work more as a unit.

Ideas for virtual water cooler spaces include virtual rooms where employees can meet for virtual coffees and lunches or even happy hour. It is also possible to host virtual team-building events where the team can work on a fun project together.

The bottom line

Whether you plan on making remote work temporary or permanent for your team, ensuring adequate communication should be at the top of your to-do list. This article has all the necessary information to ensure successful remote work communication.

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