4 best practices for communication among remote teams. These four remote-work strategies can help keep your workforce connected, regardless of their location. 

They say the most important part of any relationship is communication. For workforces in the new world of remote work, that’s easier said than done. While technological advancements including Zoom, Slack and GoogleSuite can go a long way in helping teams stay connected, distance can easily cause miscommunication. What can employers do to keep staff connected at a distance and improve communication for remote teams? 

Consider these four best practices for communication among remote teams during the pandemic.

1. Remember communication at works goes beyond long-form emails.

One big loss when working from home is that employees may be less willing to reach out to one another on non-work related issues. In the office, team members often connect through casual moments between tasks and during lunch. Casual conversation is not only good for team morale, but may contribute to more creative problem solving and a willingness among employees to help their organization and coworkers.

Finding a space to talk casually and encouraging employees to use that space may help improve communication for remote teams. Quick-paced, instant messaging systems like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts can allow your employees to connect quickly and stay in contact more regularly. Create channels for work announcements, but also allow a space for non-work conversation, and general communication.

2. Clearly define tasks and be open to questions.

This is true for both remote communication and in-person work but has only become more vital in the age of COVID-19. When employees are assigned a task in-person, it’s easy for them to follow up with clarifying questions or ask for additional guidance. The same isn’t always true during remote work. Make sure when an employee has a task, that they know when it’s due, what’s due and exactly how to complete what’s been asked of them. Be open and available to questions in the same way you would be if they were at the desk next to you. This may mean offering up a phone number or chatroom where you can be easily reached or otherwise making sure they know that you’re available to assist as needed.

3. When an issue arises, pick up the phone.

Inevitably, part of leading a team is knowing how to resolve conflict when it arises. Whether a miscommunication about a work assignment, or a disagreement between two team members, be proactive in the way you handle lapses in communication. Email and messaging platforms may provide quick responses, but they also generally lack the emotion and investment that a phone call or video chat can convey. It can be so easy to misinterpret a sentence in an email that would be so obviously non-controversial in a face-to-face or at least in a voice-to-voice conversation. In times of crisis, a quick phone call can often be the best type of communication for remote teams.

4. Communicate more than you think is necessary.

Clarity and shared vision is critical to the success of any team. Working remotely, it’s easy to stay in your individual worlds, but  whether you’re sharing more clarification, information, or just normal conversation, it’s almost always a positive to communicate. It’s not just that you’re erring on the side of caution in terms of transparency. Working from home can be lonely. You want to make people feel involved, engaged and connected.

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