For the coming years, remote work would be the standard. Many businesses have announced that their work-from-home policies will be extended to at least the end of the year, showing that this is not just a trend. Employees and leaders alike must rely on improving leadership skills in order to excel and prosper in a remote work world.
Companies all over the world have been required to adopt work-from-home programs in order to keep their operations going while protecting the safety and welfare of their employees during the coronavirus epidemic.
However, according to the 2020 State of Humanity at Work survey by WorkHuman.com, a tech firm that creates cloud-based applications to help handle workers, only one in three employees have worked remotely previous to this unexpected shift, adapting to this current scenario would take special attention to ensure communication is not lost. Good communication involves more than simply using words. It contains nonverbal cues, emotional intelligence, and active listening, among other items. What does all of this mean in the remote work industry?
Here are a few tips to help you develop your communication skills as a remote worker, whether you are searching for a remote career or already working on a decentralized team.
1. What Makes Remote Communication Different
It is fair to assume that the transition to remote work has sped up. But, with all of these recently established remote work policies, are organizations prepared to address some of the most important problems faced by huge remote teams? Challenges in remote communication are still at the top of the list.
Working remotely necessitates a different method due to the existence of a third party: the internet. It is easy to create a casual job check-in when walking around an office. The expressions on your colleagues' faces will easily reveal how well a conversation is going. When communicating with a device, the simplicity of face-to-face contact can be lost. (However, there is much less fractured conversation when you walk around an office.)
Communication principles became much more relevant for distributed teams. Excellent communication is brief, straightforward, has a goal, is planned with the viewer in mind, and most critically, provides specific and accurate details. And if the orders are not as clear as they can be, direct contact has the advantage of nonverbal signals to reinforce verbal communication. Communication as a remote worker requires thoughtful and precise communication.
- The good side? Practicing effective communication in a remote team will improve the overall communication abilities. Furthermore, remote communication can be much more concentrated and less vulnerable to small talk.
- What is the disadvantage? If the comments are unclear and could be perceived differently in any electronic message, they will be interpreted in the manner that causes the most damage.
Communication in Real-Time vs. Delayed Communication
Communication is immediate when performed in person. When you ask a colleague a question at a presentation or at the water cooler, they react immediately.
When speaking with a colleague in a remote team, expect a delay in response. Asynchronous correspondence happens when a message is transmitted without the expectation of immediate response (vs. the real-time synchronous communication). Using team communication software, project management programs, or email, space may be generated between the two parties in a discussion.
There are several advantages of taking a break, including fewer interruptions to your routine and more flexibility to prepare a thoughtful response. However, for teams that are inexperienced with this correspondence flow, it can take some time to change standards, but there are major benefits to team coordination.
Every person has different communication preferences and needs
One of the most serious barriers to successful communication in remote teams is the absence of physical cues, which also act as reminders to others regarding boundaries and preferences. Individuals respond in different ways depending on their team and individual. What is the optimal communication frequency? What are the best ways to communicate? How do you prioritize activities? Individuals have varying expectations about how they receive and exchange information. Frequently posed questions, with little progress in finding a reasonable balance.
Micromanagement because of overcommunication.
“When in doubt, overcommunicate,” we advise at workplaces. What happens, though, when leaders are regularly checking in on staff, calling for status updates, or offering guidance that disrupts job flow. Leaders who are used to watching workers at work unintentionally micromanage. Since they crave the security of constantly seeing what their workers are doing, they develop patterns of closely watching, monitoring, or reminding them.
Problems with technology
Synchronous communication is complicated and often impossible due to lagging internet and connectivity problems. When video calls are not running properly or team members are shouting over each other, participants said it can be awkward to remain on the call.
Since remote work involves communicating with colleagues and customers from all over the world, variations in language, culture, communication style, and learning style are normal.
Each human is different. Cultural values, attitudes, and flexibility, according to participants, all play a role in communication tensions. Not to mention the impact of time zones and family responsibilities, which can lead one to drift in different directions. There are several points of view, each with its own set of criteria.
2. It is all about effective communication when it comes to adapting to the new standard.
Working from a distance does not mean working alone. You will also be part of a team, which ensures you will be collaborating on projects and tasks alongside others. Collaboration can be more complex because there is not a physical place to meet.
Communication and teamwork skills are inseparably related since communication is essential to effective collaboration. To maintain sufficient but not distracting communication, strike the right combination between video sessions, phone calls, and messages
Learning People’s Preferences
.Maybe your employer prefers email communication, while one of your coworkers prefers text messages, and another prefers video conferences on occasion. Determine who likes what and then communicate in a manner that satisfies their requirements.
Never Assume that people understand your words
People are not particularly effective communicators by nature. These qualities could be learned. CFOs, Partners, Administrators, and their Teams, on the other hand, barely undergo communication training. Messages like emails and texts are easily misinterpreted without people understanding them.
People sometimes believe that online communication is the same as face-to-face communication. But virtual contact, though allowing us to "communicate faster, easier, and at our convenience, it lacks interaction, empathy, connection, control, and emotion.
Being positive is one of the best communication skills for a remote worker, regardless of how you interact with your team. Proactive interaction can be as easy as keeping your boss up to date with a job you are working on or informing colleagues that you will be out of the office the next week.
Improve your Writing Techniques
Even if your organization has a diverse team that uses video or phone calls often, the majority of the team communications are likely written.
This allows you to consider what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. You have complete freedom to organize your thoughts and edit your messages, as well as to take as much time as you need to formulate your answer.
However, pay particular attention to the tone of your emails. Since written correspondence can be misinterpreted, you will want to avoid coming off as aggressive or, on the other hand, confusing.
Clear, Consistent, and Concise
You would not go wrong if you concentrate on being Clear, Consistent, and Concise, regardless of how you interact.
Clear interactions are straightforward and to the point. People will know how and when you will communicate, as well as the types of messages you will send (do you almost always use email or text messaging?). Furthermore, concise messages are short and to the point.
Try to keep these things in mind when writing your message to help you hold to the three C's when communicating as a remote worker.
- Give the right amount of background information.
- What exactly do you require?
- If that is the case, what do you recommend?
Participate in Informal Conversation
The rest of the day will be spent on work-related correspondence. Giving time for more informal and casual communications, on the other hand, is useful. Not talking about the job or the activities at hand will help you develop a rapport and interaction with colleagues, which can strengthen team dynamics over time.
Ask your organization to set up a talk channel for your staff to use exclusively for casual conversation if you do not already have one. It would be easier to work together once you get to know each other better.
Respect Time Differences
When you are part of a distributed team, you and your coworkers do not only work from different sites. It is also true if you are operating in various time zones.
Keep note of when the colleagues are busy and send them notes accordingly. This will necessitate any scheduling adjustments for all of your parts, but it would be worth it if your communication improves.
Everybody is trying to do the best they can
The lack of face-to-face contact is one of the difficulties that remote employees can face. Although you may establish rapport with teammates and get to know them regardless of their location, because most of the messages are written or asynchronous, you can read more into the message than is actually there. In an email, lighthearted sounds and sarcasm do not necessarily come across. As a result, do trust the sender's positive intentions. Where in question, take as much time as you can to ensure that you have a complete grasp of what is being said. Similarly, before sending out the communications, strive to keep the same thing in mind. Consider using emojis to convey ridiculousness or offbeat humor.
Try to Meet Offline
When you work in an office, you see your colleagues every day, making it easier to form casual bonds with them. When you operate remotely, though, you can only connect with your colleagues every few days and only by email.
Having time to catch up with colleagues in person wherever possible (and safe) helps you to socialize and get to know them outside of the workplace. If you really do not meet in person after the pandemic, consider arranging simulated coffee breaks or happy hours. This will help you divert your mind away from work and foster relationships with your colleagues.
Maintain Office Culture even Though You are At Home
According to Olivier Pailhes, CEO and co-founder of Aircall, a telecommuting services firm, "informal conversations and interactions that happen in an office are essential to building company culture and strengthening camaraderie within a team." Creating digital ways to communicate casually will help sustain team rapport, even though it seems that office culture has been placed on hold for the time being.
“Embedding informal time within the workday via a virtual lunch or happy hour can make employees feel more connected to their co-workers, and in turn, more inclined to work as a unit,” Pailhes says.
Other suggestions include lunch dates and immersive team-building activities such as online dining or beer-brewing workshops.
Finally, these tips can help you in improving your remote communication skills. And, over time, you will find that improved communication clarity and performance not only improves productivity but also makes you build relationships.