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5 Communication Tips for Remote Teams

April 19, 2017

5 Communication Tips for Remote Teams

When your team finally decides it’s time to say #FtheOffice and go remote, a whole new host of communication challenges arises. We’ve already written about how to increase communication, and how to deal with too much communication, but we haven’t dived into the unique communication challenges experienced by remote teams. We took a read through a few of the top blogs on the subject and pulled out these 5 tips to help you improve your remote team’s communications.

1. Use Emoji

It’s hard to gauge emotion in text-based conversations. That’s why Zapier recommends using Emojis and GIFs when communicating with coworkers. These more emotive forms of communication help convey tone and emotion you don’t get from just text.

2. Make meetings matter

Make sure you have a solid reason for holding remote meetings. As the Idonethis blog points out — holding a video meeting just to hold a video meeting isn’t a good idea; as they experienced first hand:

“For a while, we fell into a bad habit of holding weekly meetings over Google Hangout because we skipped the calculation. We knew that regular face-to-face contact was important for building camaraderie, and regularly checking in as a team seemed like something we should be doing. But that was neither clear nor compelling enough. Since we didn’t set forth a specific enough protocol or purpose, the Hangouts were unfocused, devolved into rambling discussions about product, and ended up wasting our time.”

Each meeting should be intentional and have purpose. Otherwise, your team is wasting a rare opportunity.

3. Encourage non-work communication

As Trello sagely points out, you need to leave some room for fun in your team communications. Team building is about more than just business communication. When you’re remote, it can be hard to get to know your coworkers personally because those personal conversations just don’t happen as naturally as they do in an office setting. Start an off-topic conversation channel, and let people share some of who they are, not just what they do for the company.

4. Stop emailing your coworkers

Email is not the best way to communicate with your team. As FormAssembly points out, chat is a far more efficient way to communicate. Plus, chat apps give you more ways to add to the conversation. If your team doesn’t use a chat tool yet, we have a handy guide to the most popular business chat apps.

5. Use a universal time

This tip from Capterra really hits home because we’re a global team and have to work between offices that are 9 hours apart. Setting a universal time means that it’s easier to coordinate face-to-face meetings, and helps you make better choices about when to send a message.

Those five tips should be plenty to get you on your way to better remote team communication. How does your remote team keep in touch? We’d love to learn from you — tell us your tips in the comments below.