A Manager’s Guide To Remote Team Communication

Remote team communication is not easy. Effective communication in virtual teams requires different processes, mindsets, and tools.

Great communication skills do not come naturally to remote employees. It takes hard work, a willingness to share, practice, and… lots of practice.

When it comes to communication between managers and their remote & distributed teams, there are always opportunities for growth.

In leading virtual teams and managing remote workers, growth in communication skills is necessary. It helps guarantee that your message is heard and fosters an environment where your team may thrive.

Effective Communication in Virtual Teams

A team that communicates more effectively fosters a virtual working environment where people are free to think creatively. They are more at ease assuming responsibility for challenges and tasks, resulting in more productive brainstorming sessions and problem-solving.

a person working from home with a coffee
Managing effective communication in remote team

Leaders are better able to fully utilise talents and skills when they build relationships with their remote team members.

This helps leaders to put employees in place where their abilities and talents are best utilized, maximizing their performance. In turn, employees are more engaged with their work and may better align with the company’s goals.

Remote Work Communication Best Practices

Response Time For Communication In Remote Work

Make sure you respond effectively to your team, whether it’s a conflict among team members or a general project issue. Virtual communication requires attention to detail as well as the capacity to remain calm under stress.

Move conversations to video calls when it is important to be on the same page. Do this, especially for time-sensitive topics that require real-time responses. Asynchronous instant messaging works for topics that do not require a quick response.

Brainstorming With A Distributed Team

Every now and then, it’s necessary to gather your team for a session of brainstorming. It’s possible that your employees have great ideas they’ve never shared with you.

a brainstorming board with post-it notes
Brainstorming is one of the essential skills that a manager must have for communicating with remote employees

Encouraging distributed team communication is fruitful for brainstorming sessions:

  • Allows people to think for themselves and for everyone to speak freely and without fear of being judged.
  • Encourages everyone to add their own ideas later, rather than limiting ideation to a single brainstorming session.
  • Keeps track of every piece of communication, not just brilliant ideas.

To ease your team into a place of open communication, consider starting with icebreaker questions.

Resolving Conflicts To Boost Remote Teamwork

To be a manager is to solve issues that the team may have. Inevitably, you and your team will confront obstacles and disagreements.

Establishing clear roles and duties within your team is a smart idea. This helps employees respect each other’s work boundaries and approach the appropriate individual for a task. When disagreements emerge, ask questions that challenge assumptions to help your team identify the source of the issue.

Recognizing Remote Team Members

When you want to improve remote team communication, recognition is the key to success.

As a leader, your role is to not only ensure that your team completes the assignment. It is also to recognize and appreciate their efforts. Employees’ contributions are sometimes overlooked, especially when they are working in a large group.

Use an employee recognition tool like EngageWith to show your appreciation for your employees. This gives a positive message and helps them feel valued.

Making Virtual Team Meetings Matter

The essence of communication is placed on how effectively you can deliver the information. In remote work communication, it is your duty as a manager to make the most of every moment.

This is important during virtual team meetings. It’s good practice to let people know about the meeting agenda ahead of time. Also, give them any other information that will help them prepare better.

Remote Team Communication Goals

As a manager, ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their objectives.

People may doubt the way they communicate if they don’t receive an immediate response. In addition, missed communications might cause people to second-guess their words which might result in anxiety and self-doubt.

Use activities or communication exercises that assist your team in fully comprehending their own and each other’s contributions.

Evaluate their working methods, tools, and procedures to see if they are the most effective and relevant for accomplishing their goals.

Make time for a weekly virtual activity with your team. We have a list of easy communication games for remote teams.

Giving Feedback While Working Remotely

Make sure that you communicate performance feedback to your team members. While this may also involve upgrades, the goal is to assist your employees to remain optimistic as opposed to upsetting them. Provide feedback in a timely manner so that employees may immediately begin to improve. Avoid being generic when providing constructive feedback.

A one-on-one meeting is an effective method for giving and receiving constructive feedback. This can assist you to understand the body language, personality, and tone of communication.

Remote Team Communication Strategies

Express Empathy To Feel Connected

Companies new to remote work will take time to adapt. There will be a learning curve for everyone involved. This is especially true if your workforce is not very tech-savvy.

One method to reduce the difficulty of this learning curve is to have and demonstrate empathy for all employees.

Assure them that you are accessible to assist them during the transition in communication working remotely. This allows them to voice any questions or concerns they may have.

Engage in Virtual Team-Building Experiences

Perhaps the greatest challenge faced by remote workers is isolation when they work from home. It can result in disengagement, a decline in performance and/or production, and even employee turnover. Additionally, loneliness can motivate some individuals to take extreme action.

Building personal and social relationships among team members is the only approach to combat loneliness. This helps team members to improve their ability to:

  • communicate
  • address difficulties
  • identify solutions for the problems before they become overwhelming.

One effective way to build better connections with fun is by hosting virtual team building events. These experiences give space for your team to communicate and interact in non-work situations. This can help remote teams feel connected and strengthen remote teamwork.

Check out our complete guide to fun virtual team building ideas for your team. We include virtual escape room, team trivia with fun trivia questions, and more for teams working remotely.

Don’t Micromanage Remote Workers

Effective remote working requires enabling team members rather than blasting them with calls and emails about their job. It’s critical that your team members feel valued and trusted regardless of what the work arrangements are.

Use communication tools to collaborate and track progress. Avoid the trap of using intrusive tools and making too many phone calls.

Celebrate Achievements Real-Time

party poppers, confetti and a donut
Celebrating achievements is one of the important parts of remote team communication strategy

Celebrating accomplishments can promote self-esteem and motivation. Appreciation can also help to improve your company’s reputation, increase retention, and attract top talent.

A celebration can take numerous forms. It can range from a low-key private conversation to an extravagant public event. Ensure that the celebration you choose is appropriate for the people involved.

For instance, you may have a team member who is an introvert. They may not like to give a speech or accept a present in front of their team.

Instead, a personal note may be enough. They will enjoy it, even more, knowing that you know their preferences.

Create a Remote Team Support System

Set up a way for your team to get help with the tools and processes they use.

You can make a FAQ or knowledge base with information about:

  • how to set up and use the tools
  • links to policy documents and procedures

Automate your regular tasks, such as asking for time off.

It would be a good idea to set up clear rules about who to call in case of an emergency.

Consider setting up a single point of contact in the team. Everyone can talk to this person about any help they need.

Closing Thoughts For Managers Leading Remote & Distributed Teams

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful team. Additionally, distant teams that do not meet frequently have a greater need for it.

There is a need for thoughtful strategy here and a set of tools that can manage all the demands of distant teamwork in terms of communication.

Remote teams have various communication demands. As a manager, you must understand the nuances and challenges of effective remote team communication. It is your responsibility to establish constructive communication with team members. Empower and motivate them to achieve goals.

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