Communicating clearly & constantly:
A best practice for running any team, this one is especially important when you have a remote team. When working from home, you can’t turn around and tap a colleague on a shoulder whenever you have a question, so you must incorporate more intentionality around your communication processes. By helping your remote team succeed with this tip, you are preventing problems that may arise from miscommunication.
Clear and constant communication is all about being purposeful, prepared, and building in a process on what, when, and where people can get the information they need to succeed. This allows everyone in the team to be heard, so everyone feels just as important from home as they would in the office.
How to make this best practice possible:
- Use communication frameworks
Two excellent communication frameworks that can help ensure clear and constant communication include the “clarify and verify” method, as well as the time-test technique of repeating the content that matters.
Clarify and verify:
Clarify and verify is a technique used by many people from top CEOs to career coaches, and it helps to ensure that the message which was sent to the listener was heard and understood.
To take advantage, each time you communicate something to another person ask them to repeat back to you what they heard. And the same goes for the opposite direction, when someone tells you something, ask if you can repeat back what you heard to make sure you have clarity of what was communicated.
In today’s world, we have a lot of messages bombarding us at all hours. In order to make sure the most important information makes it through and sticks, we need to regularly repeat ourselves. Whatever information is important, say it until you feel like you’ve repeated yourself too much, then say it some more.
2. Make small talk with the team
By inspiring your team to build rapport with every member of the team, through small talk, each member will begin to build trust with one another. Having this strong communication also works by getting to know the complete person, not just talking about work. One big problem of working from home is loneliness, so combat that by building a strong community through communication. You should also try to have a team reunion at least once a year to continue to build your company culture.
3. Set up tools to help people communicate
You can propel this to work for your team by setting up which tools for communication are appropriate for different types of communication. Remember: use video as much as possible! The technology for this has never been better, and seeing someone’s facial reactions helps you understand the situation much better than just through audio or chat. You can take advantage of this technology by having longer one-on-ones with remote employees. This continues to build trust throughout the whole team especially if you give remote employees a full hour in your schedule a week. This can give you and them the time to talk about what they are liking/not liking about working remote, their daily routine, if they feel included in team decisions, and if they think anything could be changed for the better.
4.Develop a process to create “bursty” communication
Another tip is to develop a “bursty” process for communication. Research has emerged which has challenged our belief on what makes teams successful. A recent study which focused on team member communication has found that “bursty” types of communication led to higher-quality output and more productive teams. Bursty communication are chunks of time designated for rapid, energized talks where questions are answered and ideas are aligned so all members can then go back to working diligently. This form of communication is said to be the secret of teams which are in-office or remote because it allows people to communicate everything they need, ask the questions they need, get the answers they need, and then go back into heads-down mode so they can continue their work. Learn more about the research on bursty communication and how this type of planned communication can help your team be their best selves.
- “Async all the way doesn't work -- while the majority of remote work should be able to happen asynchronously, it's critical to remember there are moments where hopping on a video call are essential, specifically when giving feedback” -Leah Knobler People Ops for Help Scout which identifies as a remote-first team