8 Tips to Communicate Effectively in a Remote Workplace

animated computer screen on a desk picturing people connecting and remote working via video conference

With the rise of remote work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and The Great Resignation, communication has become more important than ever before — if communication is not effective, tasks can quickly fall behind and deadlines can be missed.

But what are the differences between remote communication and in-person communication? And how can you make sure your remote communication is effective?

How do remote workers communicate effectively?

1. Set one-on-one time with your remote workers

One of the best ways to overcome the challenges of a remote workplace is to set one-on-one time with your co-workers or direct reports.

This can be done through weekly check-ins, video calls, or even just a quick chat over your designated messaging platform.

Making an effort to connect will not only help to build relationships and trust, but it will also give you an opportunity to check in on projects, give feedback, and answer any questions they may have.

2. Prioritize remote team-building

Since team camaraderie is essential for a productive and motivated workforce, it’s important to prioritize team-building in a remote workplace.

There are many ways to do this, such as hosting virtual happy hours, starting a book club, or even just taking some time to catch up with co-workers during your one-on-one time.

By making an effort to build team morale, you can help to create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.

3. Agree on communication channels and tools

In a remote workplace, there are many different communication channels and tools that can be used.

It’s important to agree on which ones will be used for which tasks so that everyone is on the same page. For example, you may use email for more formal communications, while using your designated messaging platform for more informal conversations.

4. Set clear expectations with your remote team

In any workplace setting — whether it’s in person or remote — it’s important to set clear expectations from the beginning.

This includes setting deadlines, agreeing on a communication plan, and defining roles and responsibilities. By setting clear expectations, you can help to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunication.

5. Ask about preferred communication styles

Just as there are many different communication channels and tools, there are also many different communication styles. This means really leaning into workplace soft skills like emotional intelligence, creative problem-solving and critical thinnking.

Some people prefer to communicate more directly, while others may prefer a more indirect approach. It’s important to ask about your co-workers’ or direct reports’ preferred communication styles so that you can adjust your own accordingly.

6. Make use of video calls

Video calls are a great way to replicate the feeling of being in the same room as someone, even when you’re miles apart.

Whenever possible, opt for a video call instead of a phone call or email. This will help to create a more personal connection and make it easier to communicate effectively.

7. Prioritize transparency in the workplace

In a remote workplace, it’s important to prioritize transparency in order to build trust and maintain open communication.

This means being honest about your thoughts and feelings, sharing information openly and honestly, and being transparent about your expectations. By prioritizing transparency, you can help to create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.

8. Be patient and understanding with your remote team

When communicating remotely, it’s important to be patient and understanding. There may be times when miscommunication happens, or when someone isn’t able to respond as quickly as you’d like.

It’s important to remember that we are all human and that everyone has different communication styles and preferences.

How companies can benefit from offering remote work

As previously discussed, there are many benefits for companies that offer remote work as an option for their employees:

  1. Remote work attracts top talent
  2. Remote work provides a larger talent pool
  3. Remote work improves employee retention
  4. Remote work boosts productivity
  5. Remote work lowers overhead costs

3 biggest challenges of remote work:

1. Less one-on-one time with employees

With less opportunity for one-on-one time, it can make it difficult to build relationships and trust with co-workers.

There is also the potential for miscommunication when working remotely. With more reliance on technology, there is more room for error. For example, if you are sending an important email, you may not be able to tell if the recipient received it and read it.

2. Less supervision in the workplace

With less supervision in a remote workplace comes more responsibility and accountability for employees.

This can be both a good and bad thing — on one hand, it gives employees the freedom to work independently; on the other hand, it can make it difficult to ask for help or clarification when needed.

3. Team isolation from co-workers

The importance of team camaraderie cannot be overstated since it can help motivate employees and build morale.

In a remote workplace, it can be difficult to replicate the same level of team camaraderie that you would find in an office setting. This is because there are fewer opportunities for casual interactions and bonding with co-workers.

This can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, which can impact productivity and motivation.

The good news is, with the whole world going remote, there are endless ways to overcome these obstacles that can actually lead to better productivity and a renewed sense of fulfillment.

Adjusting to remote work communication

There are many important things to keep in mind when communicating in a remote workplace, especially in light of the latest industry trends when it comes to employment.

By setting one-on-one time, prioritizing team-building, agreeing on communication channels and tools, asking about preferred communication styles, and prioritizing transparency, you can make a smooth transition to a fully remote workplace without productivity or efficiency taking any major hits.

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