As the world shifts and remote work becomes the new norm, the ways in which we’ve become accustomed to communicating shift too. It will be critical for leaders to set their team up for success as they adjust to remote work.
Below, we’ve covered some proven best practices that you can take back to your team to improve your remote work communication processes.
1. Define communication channels
Having clear guidelines around which channels to use for which types of communication will make it easier for your team to sort through the influx of messages they’ll be receiving.
Set guidelines like the ones below:
|Communication type||Designated Channel|
|Daily standup meetings||Google Hangouts|
|Client-specific questions and updates||#clients Slack Channel|
|Asks that require follow-up action|
|Company all hands||Zoom|
2. Provide how-to explainers on all communication tools
You should not assume that everyone on your team is familiar with the digital tools you’re asking them to use. This is especially true if you are in an industry that has on-site staff like retail, healthcare, or construction where digital tools aren’t part of everyone’s day-to-day.
Take time to record simple tutorials on the basic functions of the tools you’re asking your team to use. This can be done using a free program like QuickTime.
Share these tutorials with your team and document all directions in a shared document. The sooner any roadblocks to using the tools effectively are removed the sooner your team can get back to business as usual.
3. Hold daily standup meetings
When the ability to stop by a coworker’s desk and clarify tasks is removed, it becomes even more important to have clarity around task priorities.
To solve for this, add a daily standup meeting each morning. This will allow your team to debrief on progress from the day before, set priorities for the day ahead, and get their day started with clarity.
These meetings will only be as effective as you are prepared. Each meeting should include:
- A shared agenda and speaking points for each attendee
- A meeting notes document that is shared out with the attendees afterward (designate a new note taker each meeting)
- A list of actions items for each attendee
4. Set clear work boundaries
One of the harder parts about working from home is setting clear boundaries between work time, and personal time. When our office is ten steps away it can be harder to separate yourself from the constant work and communication mindset.
If you or your team are struggling to take time away from thinking about work, consider taking the following actions to set clear boundaries with your team:
- Mute notifications after work hours
- Pack up your work or desk space when you log off like you would if you were leaving the office
- Set visible working hours on your calendar so you don’t feel pressure to respond outside of those times
- Use away messages on Slack or your messaging tool so your coworkers know you’re offline
- Add the Slack/Google Calendar integration (or something similar) to instantly update your slack status when you’re unavailable
We recommend also adding these tips to the training document mentioned in Tip #2.
5. Assume best intentions
Interpreting context through written messages or patchy video feeds can be challenging. You miss out on some of the tone, facial expressions, and body language that help you determine someone’s mood.
When these social cues are lacking it can be easy to assume someone is being short or irritable with you. Do your best to assume everyone has good intentions and coach your team to do the same by tapping into their emotional intelligence skills.
If at any point you believe there may be an actual conflict that needs addressed, set up a time to talk sooner than later to clear the air.
By taking the time to set up documentation, add a few extra touch-points throughout the week, and set clear expectations with your team, you’ll be remote work experts in no time.
To learn more about how you can train team members on the skills above and other critical skillsets and mindsets like empathy, creativity, and resilience, schedule time to speak with a Verb learning expert below.