Working remotely can be difficult without standard procedures in place for communication. Whether your remote working arrangement is permanent or temporary, it’s important to establish some good habits that help you maintain a balanced workflow. Developing remote team communication practices can help manage the ‘working’ side of work.
Remote Team Communication: Challenges
While communication is essential to job performance, the physical separation inherent in remote work often presents obstacles to communicating effectively. Some challenges include:
Poor communication habits—or a total lack thereof—can ruin a smooth workflow and, in turn, disrupt productivity. Putting a communication strategy in place for remote teams may seem less important than larger team goals, but the results can be equally significant:
How To Implement Remote Team Communication
Establishing habits for effective remote team communication is a strategy that requires effort from each member. Human interaction is fundamental to building interpersonal bonds, which in turn, are vital for successful communication, as team members must align with one another on project goals, and often request additional information or context in order to meet those goals.
A great place to start establishing your remote team’s communication procedures is with a shared inbox. Creating a shared inbox with one email address allows you and your team to collaborate from one platform, regardless of location, and manage your messages together.
Using Gmelius’s shared inbox solution means your team can manage group emails without sharing passwords as everyone can collaborate from their own Gmail account. You can reduce the bulk of your email clutter with filters and assign conversations to different team members using shared Gmail labels.
For example, when presented with a new project, team members will undoubtedly have questions they express via email. This can create clutter in your inbox and makes it harder to find essential information buried in the influx of emails. Without the information required for immediate responses, many questions could easily go unanswered and put a strain on the team’s sense of cohesion. In such a scenario, team leaders could send a group message with a Gmail template to say, “hold your questions for our follow-up meeting” to acknowledge the questions, and also to protect the team leader’s time by scheduling future replies. This gives everyone the opportunity to receive feedback, ask questions, and further reinforces connections when the team reconvenes to establish new goals.
Make Communication Easy
It’s no surprise that building strong professional relationships among coworkers can increase work productivity. However, taking a little time away from work for an engaging conversation with team members also strengthens that interpersonal bond, and often benefits productivity in the long term.
In contrast, when team members lack real, human connections, they may feel isolated or intimidated and avoid sending messages to ensure alignment. Their work can reflect the disorientation that comes from unanswered questions or vague goals.
Encouraging employee interaction in remote working environments can sometimes feel forced, but it gets easier with practice, especially when you use the right communication tools. Gmelius offers remote teams a variety of integration capabilities for different modes of communication, all accessible from inside your Gmail account:
In addition to streamlining tools for remote team communication, team leaders can foster interpersonal connections, creativity, and pride in workmanship outside “official” work boundaries. Slack channels dedicated to specific chat topics, or trivia contests can encourage communication and human interaction. You might also try an ice-breaker at the beginning of virtual meetings to encourage team members to turn on their cameras, share, and focus.
Adjust for Audiences
While many team leaders have goals that involve creating internal structures to encourage interaction between team members, they may require different tactics for their own communications. To ensure clarity, when leaders communicate with their teams, it’s important to check in frequently with members to ensure everyone understands the message. It can get redundant after the fifth time asking if everyone is on the same page, but it’s important that everyone has a chance to raise questions at frequent intervals.
You may also wish to record and upload video meetings for detailed conversations or absent team members. Recording a virtual meeting can help team members recall and verify information, especially when commenting on the agenda is enabled. This keeps all documentation organized and if a team member has questions, the comments offer a space to collaborate as well as to keep teams informed.
While there are many ways to ensure effective communication, ultimately your decision will be contingent on your team’s specific needs. If you or your team needs help implementing an efficient method for remote team communication check out our features and integrations at Gmelius. Learn how Gmelius is built to improve team communication and collaboration. Ready to get started? Sign up today!