Establishing proper communication when you are working with a remote team is one of the first things you need to do before actually getting to work. Building proper communication will make it easier for you to manage the team. Hence, here’s how to structure your communication culture in a remote team.
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Be Open About Company Culture and Values
First and foremost, you need to be open about your company culture and values. By explaining all of the details about your company culture and values to your remote team members you will ensure that everyone is on the same wavelength and understand what you want and expect from them and what you aim to build with your communication culture.
For instance, if you want your remote employees to remain professional and serious at all times, explain this to them. On the other hand, if you want to promote a more lighthearted atmosphere and closer, more personal relationships between employees, tell your remote team members about it. In both cases, your employees will need to know what kind of values your company has and will align their behavior according to your company culture.
Respect Boundaries and Empathize with Employees
Another thing you should always remember about is respecting boundaries and empathizing with employees. Respecting boundaries is not just about respect and basic human rights, but also about maintaining the kind of communication culture you want to see in your company and particularly in your remote team.
Likewise, empathizing with your employees is crucial, especially in situations when this kind of support is necessary for their physical and mental well-being. If your employee doesn’t want to talk about their family, respect their boundaries. But if you see them struggling and they want to have someone to talk to, you should be there to empathize with them. And yet, you need to remember to separate both your own and their professional and personal life as much as possible no matter what.
Establish and Enforce Rules and Guidelines
Rules and guidelines are not just empty words – you should actually establish them beforehand and start enforcing them as soon as possible. Think about them as you would about freelance copywriting rules: you set these beforehand and make sure that all your employees follow these rules when they create their content. The same should be for your communication culture in a remote team.
The rules and guidelines you establish will need to cover what kind of communication software you and your remote team will be using, how often you will be communicating, how you will be communicating, and so on. Think about the most common scenarios that you and your employees can encounter on a daily basis and create a set of rules for how everyone should act in such situations and how communication needs to be done.
Make the Traditional-to-Remote Transition Smooth
This is obviously not something everyone will need to go through, but if you are in a situation like this, you will have to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. If you first worked with your team in a traditional setting (aka in an office environment), you will now need to transition with your team to a remote setup which can be somewhat unusual for some of your employees.
To make the traditional-to-remote transition smoother, check that everyone is as informed as possible. If someone isn’t aware of the new rules and guidelines or of the details of the transition, they won’t be able to feel secure when going through the transition itself. And you want to have everyone satisfied with the transition, so make sure that nobody feels left out or is struggling too much in the process.
Trust Your Employees and Promote Teamwork
One big mistake many business owners and remote team managers make is doing everything on their own instead of trusting their employees and promoting teamwork. When you decide to do everything on your own, you can end up in a situation when you come off too bossy and your employees feel like they are just being controlled all the time. Moreover, your employees will stop trusting you or each other.
What you should do is start trusting your remote team members and letting them have an active part in shaping your communication culture. When you let them do what they should do and bring in some new ideas, there will be way more collaboration in your team. Moreover, promoting teamwork will help you set up a team that will be way more effective in achieving the goals you set.
Motivate, Inspire, and Keep Productivity High
Like teamwork, being productive while working remotely is crucial for each and every one of your remote team members, so you need to motivate and inspire them while also keeping their productivity high. Doing these three things will help you structure your communication culture properly while also making sure that your remote team’s performance is as high as it can be.
It’s important to remember that motivation and inspiration can come from different sources, so you can first experiment and see what works best particularly for your remote team. For example, if your employees get inspired when they have more creative control, let them have this very creative control – brainstorm ideas together but also let them make some of their own decisions individually.
Have A Virtual Meeting Schedule and Stick to It
One way to keep up with each and every one of your remote team members while also structuring your communication culture correctly is by having a virtual meeting schedule that you can stick to consistently. To put it simply, this schedule is pretty much the same as the one you would have in a regular office. The only difference is that the meetings would now have to be held virtually.
The best thing you can do with a virtual meeting schedule is put the regular meetings on it and then add the ones you hold at different times. So, for example, a regular monthly meeting can be scheduled for the whole team with project-centered meetings being added here and there when necessary (e.g. at the beginning, middle, and end of working on a particular project).
Allow Breaks and Promote Interactions During Them
When you make the transition from the traditional, in-office way of working to a remote, digital-based one, it’s easy to decide to work as much as you can for as long as you can. This is exactly what many of your remote team members might want to do. However, taking this route and working all the time will simply lead to burnout and will make your employees less productive rather than more productive.
Consequently, it is essential that you allow your remote employees to have breaks and even promote their interactions during these breaks. When they have time to take a break and rest a little, they will be able to come back to work after the break with way more energy. In addition to that, encouraging interactions between your employees during these breaks will help them bond better and promote a culture of communication and collaboration.
Invest in and Distribute Digital Communication Tools
Having proper communication is virtually impossible without the appropriate tools just like it is impossible to be a good copywriter without having the right tools for freelance writing. In other words, investing in and distributing digital communication tools to your remote team members is essential for structuring your communication culture.
The digital tools you and your remote team use for communication will largely depend on the way you communicate in the first place. Virtual meetings can be run as online conference calls via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype. Day-to-day communication can be done via email and on professional messaging platforms like Slack. Moreover, managing projects can be done with such programs as Asana and Trello which will also help tremendously with communication.
Set Realistic and Personalized Goals and Deadlines
Last but not least, you need to set realistic and personalized goals and deadlines for your remote team members. If you set unrealistic and hard-to-achieve goals for your employees, they will underperform all the time which can also lead to them being unmotivated and uninspired as well as feeling unsatisfied with their jobs.
To avoid having unrealistic goals, you need to start personalizing them. Look at what your team as a whole can achieve in a day, a week, a month, a quarter, or a year. Look at what every member does separately in these same time periods. Then, analyze all of the data you collected and set goals that your team can achieve together and your team members can achieve individually.
All in all, structuring your communication culture in a remote team is essential for building work culture in your company and ensuring high performance levels in your remote team members. Use the tips in this article to improve your strategy and make your remote team communication more productive.
Gregory is passionate about researching new technologies in both mobile and web as well as in WordPress. He is in love with stories and facts, so he always tries to get the best of both worlds. Gregory appears in lists both in Top Writing Reviews and in All Top Reviews which makes him one of the best writers currently available on the market.