5 Ways to Boost Communication with Your Remote Team

Remote work has been on the rise since COVID-19. In America alone, from 2019 to 2021, the number of people working remotely went from 5.7% (9 million) to 17.9% (27.6 million). With this number of people opting to work primarily out of the office, it is important to ensure successful communication with these employees.

Remote work has been on the rise since COVID-19. In America alone, from 2019 to 2021, the number of people working remotely went from 5.7% (9 million) to 17.9% (27.6 million). With this number of people opting to work primarily out of the office, it is important to ensure successful communication with these employees.

Whilst in the office, one can easily ask a co-worker to schedule a meeting or review a piece of work. Furthermore, bonds between colleagues are formed through workplace ‘banter’ and lunch break chats. For those who are out of the office, it can be easy to miss important information passed on in the workplace or miss out on work updates and reviews. They can also feel disconnected from other employees and feel a lack of communication. This can hinder the productivity of the remote worker and leave them feelings isolated, which in turn inhibits productivity.  

For these reasons, it is crucial to have effective communication with employees in your workplace to ensure happy and productive employees.

Here are 6 ways you can boost communication with remote workers in your company:

Tip 1, Organize Daily Stand-up Meetings:

An easy and effective way to improve communication with your remote workers is to organise a daily stand-up meeting with both on and off-site employees. A daily stand-up is a great way to exchange important information and ideas to ensure everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, integrating in and out of office workers in a single place can help offsite workers feel part of the team.  

The passing of information synchronously further promotes communication, and having a dedicated time each day to exchanging ideas can stop the on-site only transfer of information.

We recommend allocating a standard time each day for your stand-up meeting. This makes sure everyone knows the time and gives a sense of schedule to those working remotely. It is also important to consider time differences when choosing your stand-up time. Whilst it is good to have a stand-up meeting in the morning to allow the team to plan their day, you don’t want to further exclude and limit communication with remote workers by choosing a time unreasonable for their time zone.

Tip 2, Use Effective Communication Tools

Another great way for remote workers to receive important information is to effectively use communication tools to transfer information and tasks. Using services like Slack to send messages and Monday.com to set tasks make sure the remote workers are on the same page as the on-site workers with regards to work progress and tasks. These also stop the constant messaging of co-workers to ask where a project stands and what they should be doing. Having a clearly laid out set of responsibilities for each employee streamlines the businesses operations.

Using services like Monday.com can also allow the creation of ‘backlog’ tasks that means employees can undertake non-urgent tasks when they have completed their work for the day without the need to contact a manager for advice on what work to do next. This develops a non-verbal form of communication between colleagues.

Tip 3, Embed Asynchronous Communication

What is it?

Asynchronous communication is a type of communication where a response is not instant. An example would be sending an email with work to your boss at 10am and receiving feedback at 5pm.

Why use it?

Whilst synchronous communication (e.g., an in-person conversation) is great in certain situations, asynchronous communication allows for deep focus on work with minimal distractions allowing employees to complete work more efficiently.

How to implement?

Create a culture with an asynchronous attitude to non-urgent communication in the workplace, where employees are not expected to respond to messages instantly. This will allow in and out of office workers to be on equal footing with regards to responding to tasks.

Autonomy through alignment:

A precursor to embedding asynchronous communication into your working culture is to ensure that you create autonomy for your team through alignment.  To generate alignment, create backlog tasks as mentioned above and use the daily stand ups to scope and align on the desired outputs. This will result in team members having other workstreams to focus on while they await on a message response to continue.

Tip 4, Use Public Communication

Avoid using private forms of communication when messaging online. It is common for employees to direct message co-workers they have already formed bonds with, mostly occurring with those working in the office. This generates a positive feedback loop where employees working in the office only message one another as they feel more comfortable talking to those they have already met in person. This only further inhibits communication with remote workers, leaving them out of the loop.

By setting up shared channels in messaging services, employees can share their thoughts with all members of the team.  

However, make sure you don’t create a single channel for all contact. Instead, create several channels for different purposes such as ‘marketing’ or ‘finance’. This stops one channel from being cluttered with information that isn’t related and can create subgroups including both in and out of office workers who are in the same team. This ensures information is efficiently shared among all relevant members of a team and can help form bonds with those who share closely related work.

Tip 5, Get to Know the Team on a Personal Level

Whilst this is true for all employees, as previously mentioned, the unorganized chit chat of being in an office allows for bonds to easily form within team members in the office. For those working remotely, this type of communication can be easily overlooked. That’s why it’s important to consciously take interest in the personal lives of your remote workers. This can be done by simply asking about their family, or hobbies when in a call. Alternatively, onboarding is a great opportunity to ask your remote workers about their interests.

A great way to keep up to date with your remote employees on a personal level is to pencil in a regular monthly call which isn’t tied to work, but rather a chance to catch up on a personal level.

Organizing day trips or holidays with the company where on-site and remote workers both participate is another great way of getting to know your remote team on a personal level and forming connections among all employees.

In conclusion...

Overall, it is evident that working remotely can lead to difficulty in communicating if not managed properly. The nature of not seeing colleagues face to face can leave communication feeling unnatural, leaving those working remotely to miss out on important information.

If you use these 6 tips and identify areas of your business which could be improved to promote communication, you will be sure to see the benefits. It’s essential to weave in a culture of open communication with all employees. If you achieve this, you will not only enhance the productivity and of your employees, but also their enjoyment of their work.