The way we work is changing. The quality of collaboration products and rise of internet connectivity means more and more businesses are introducing remote working options for their employees.

 

However, this brings about new challenges to the workforce. To ensure productivity isn’t damaged by a move to remote work, organizations need to adopt effective communications strategies and tactics. In this article, we’ll provide 11 of the very best of them.

 

11 Communication Tactics for Teams Working Remotely  

Want to maintain quality when your team works remotely? Implement these 11 strategies for effective remote team comms.

 

 

1. Ask for communicative preferences

 

Lots can be done before remote working begins to allow your team to hit the ground running. One step you can take is to ask each team member what their communicative preferences will be when remote working.

 

Individuals work in different ways. Some of us won’t check our emails all day and prefer a quick five-minute video call. Others prefer everything to be down on paper, leaving a consistent, trackable email chain.

 

To minimize these disruptions, get ahead of the game and ask individuals what their favored method of communication will be. Then ensure that the correct tools and guidelines are in place to allow everyone to communicate effectively.

 

When it comes to collaborative tools built for remote working, there are lots of options out there. Take a look at Slack and Microsoft Teams, which allow for messaging, voice or video calls for all your team members. Virtual numbers are very effective for conference calls. Project management tools like Trello or Asana can help team leaders monitor ongoing campaigns from one platform.

 

2. Get on the same page

 

Once you’ve decided on the channels of communication, draw up some clear guidelines and instructions. What needs to go on an email and when can staff stick to a quick video chat? Do you have a dedicated team channel, and what will this be used for? Can meetings only be scheduled for particular times of the day, allowing for employees to start and finish at different times?

 

These are just a few of the guidelines you need to establish. Once you do this, everyone will be aware of which channels are to be prioritized for which communications and what they need to do to get started.

 

To end the preparation phase, make sure each employee has the right software installed on their system with a fully operational account. Do this ahead of time rather than once remote working has started. If you leave it to staff members, inevitably one or two will hit problems and be unable to install the right software. This all leads to wasted time and a drop in productivity once remote work begins.

 

3. Provide the right equipment

 

As you go about setting up your team on the right platforms, check they have the equipment to do their job. Is their laptop still in good working order with a camera and a mic? Will they have enough ergonomic support? Ergonomic office chairs and keyboards play a big part in keeping us comfortable in the office – which leads to higher rates of productivity.

 

If you’re moving to remote work, it’s the business’ responsibility to make sure employees have the right tools to complete their job effectively. Draw up an inventory of things you need before everyone heads off home to work remotely.

 

4. Recreate the office environment

 

The physical office brings a lot of excellent benefits to the table; one of which is the camaraderie it builds within teams. Daily face-to-face interactions help build better working relationships and a positive working environment that we all benefit from. When teams work remotely, much of that is lost – but steps can be taken to try and maintain it.

 

One idea is to create dedicated video chats that represent different areas of the office. Setup a canteen chat where people can spend their lunchtimes chatting with colleagues. Another idea is the water cooler chat – this could just be 15 minutes every day to bring your team together to talk about something other than work.

 

The intent of this is to replicate the office environment as best you can. A team that feels a sense of togetherness is much more likely to communicate effectively than one whose members feel isolated.

 

5. Socialize together 

 

The most effective, hardworking teams are the ones that consider each other to be more than just colleagues. In the office, it’s easy to organize a quick drink after work or a team-building day that keeps team morale high. Once everyone retreats to working remotely, this can easily to be lost and communication goes along with it.

 

As a team leader, it’s your job to keep everyone aligned, maintaining the sense of togetherness that breeds quality work. Get everyone on a call and flesh out your next team outing. Be it bowling, an escape room or just a few drinks, get a date in the calendar so everyone can meet up and have a good time.

 

6. Be visual

 

Presenting ideas, pitching campaigns, or just having a quick catchup are all done much more effectively when you incorporate video. Drafted, text-based documents and slide decks are easily ignored and won’t have the impact you’ll get when compared to presenting it yourself.

 

Video injects a sense of energy into a meeting. Other users can benefit from seeing your body language, and ideas can be conveyed much more effectively. At every opportunity, use video when communicating with members of your team.

 

7. Be over supportive

 

To counter any feelings of loneliness, isolation or disconnect from within your team, offer support at every opportunity. Support will mean something different depending on the individual members of your team – who you will know better than anyone.

 

Some might want an almost constant level of communication, where regular chats and video calls are necessary so they can discuss their work and sound out their ideas with someone else. Others might be happy just to go about their daily business without regular check-ins.

 

Consider the individual’s home circumstances too. Do they live alone in a flat, with one other person or in a group? These can all affect that person’s mental state and require you to increase or decrease the level of communicative support you offer that person.

 

8. Don’t abandon personal development

 

Once remote working comes into play, things that don’t immediately focus on the bottom line can easily be sidelined. Even though your employees aren’t in the office, their motivation and career aspirations are still in place. Every effort should be made to support team members in their attempts to further their careers and develop as people.

 

9. Provide an option to meet in person

 

Physical offices are an incredibly expensive outgoing for any company, but many organizations see the value of having a collective environment for producing better business outcomes. If your company is moving to a predominantly remote working system, consider putting some of the money saved into an on-site location where people in the business can meet.

 

Let’s face it, remote working isn’t ideal when teams need to pull together to complete a task at the last minute or brainstorm new ideas. Physical, face-to-face communication shines through in this situation. Consider giving your employees the ongoing option to work in a co-working space with one another.

 

If nothing else, it can be great for allowing people to meet up and reengage every once in a while.

 

10. Give some slack early on

 

Remote working represents a significant change in how your team will operate every day. New processes must be learned, new tools will need to be mastered and adjustments to how we all work have to be considered.

 

With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect that every member of your team will simply transition to remote working without a hitch. Technical problems occur, unforeseen circumstances arise, and some people don’t adjust as fast as others. All these things need to be taken into consideration when you first move to remote working, as communication levels could take an initial drop.

 

Cut your staff some slack early on and give them time to adapt any new lines of communication.

 

11. Don’t become a micromanager

 

One final piece of advice. Whether you’re in the office or away from it – no one likes to be micromanaged. Remote working shouldn’t lead to a barrage of emails fired off to each member of staff throughout the day; this could lead to a sense among staff that they are constantly being monitored.

 

Place trust in your employees and they will repay you by working just as hard from a remote location as they would if you were sat next to them in the office.

 

We all know the value of solid communication in the workplace. That’s why it’s so important to consider how it can be improved and even maintained when a shift as significant as remote working comes into play. With the 11 tips above, your team will soon be communicating as effectively as they would in person.