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10 Ways to Improve Your Communication With Remote Workers

Woman Working From Home Having Group Videoconference On Laptop

It’s difficult enough as it is for leaders to communicate with their staff when in the same room, but once you throw remote work into the mix, it becomes even harder. However, remote work is here to stay, so employers must adjust to the new challenges the hybrid work model presents.

How to Improve Remote Communication With Your Team

To succeed as a remote workplace, wherever you are, you’ll need to mix asynchronous and synchronous communication. In the next sections, we’ll present examples of both styles.

1. Choose Between Asynchronous or Synchronous

Asynchronous communication refers to anything that doesn’t require a real-time response, like email or project updates. Synchronous communication involves real-time communication, such as texts, phone calls, or video meetings. What you choose will depend on your workplace.

2. Consider Your Team’s Communication Needs

Don’t default to synchronous communication because you want a quick response, as that may not be possible for all workers. Slack, Zoom, and email usually work well for remote teams, especially if the video is recorded. You can use this extensive list of Zoom icons for your videos.

3. Ask Clarifying Questions (and be Approachable)

Your team members may have had a bad experience in the past that discourages them from speaking up. Assure your remote workers that they can come to you if they have questions. Be excited at the fact that your employees want to do right by you and do their absolute best.

4. Prioritize Public Chats Over Private Messages

A culture with a lot of “he said she said” communication is bound to fall apart. While private messages shouldn’t be discouraged (especially between coworkers), project information must be posted on a public channel. This ensures everyone is on the same page on projects.

5. Turn on the Webcam During Schedules Meetings

Face-to-face communication can boost productivity, reduce redundancy, and improve reliability. However, companies can receive all of these benefits in a remote workplace if they simply turn on their webcam during scheduled meetings. For non-scheduled meetings, make it optional. 

6. Utilize AI, Software, and Other Remote Tools

Micromanagement never works as planned, but some employers will continue to do it anyway. Letting go is the best thing you could do for your organization. Instead of watching your staff constantly, build a trusting workforce that utilizes automation, software, and other remote tools.

7. Try a Few Team-Building Activities and Games

We communicate better with the people we know, but it’s hard to connect with a remote team if employers don’t initiate a few team-building exercises. At least once a week, play a game, offer feedback, and/or celebrate an achievement or anniversary to show you appreciate your staff.

8. Assume the Best Intentions and be Empathetic

One overlooked, but crucial factor for employee retention is empathy. It can be easy to read too much emotion into a text conversation that isn’t there, so you should never get defensive before a person has a chance to explain themselves. Get on a video call and ask what they meant.

9. Add Context When Communicating Remotely

Adding context to your comments is the best way to avoid hurt feelings in the first place. The classic “we need to talk” comment will conjure up feelings of fear and anxiety. State exactly why you need to speak to your employees or coworkers so they aren’t worried about the outcome.

10. Be Honest, Trustworthy, and Open to Criticism

It’s often said that employees don’t break up with their jobs; they break up with their bosses. If you say one thing and do another, your employees won’t feel comfortable being honest. But if you’re open to criticism, your organization can change its communication style for the better.

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