5 Keys to Effective Communication with Remote Teams


What are the keys to effective communication when working with remote teams?

The COVID-19 health crisis has undoubtedly revolutionized organizations by expanding and normalizing remote work. This shift has changed mindsets and the way we manage and lead remote teams, creating a new team culture.

What seemed like a challenge has turned into a great opportunity. In fact, 8 out of 10 leaders hope to continue offering remote work options after the end of the health crisis, according to the Workforce Transformation survey by Grupo Adecco.

Effective remote team management is made possible through effective communication.

Communication is the essential tool through which the actions of individuals in a company are organized to achieve its mission and results. For this communication to be effective, it’s not just about conveying information clearly and concisely; it also involves choosing the right moment, medium, and people to avoid unproductive meetings and enable remote team members to perform their tasks both collaboratively and individually.

Team members need to know their mission and objectives and, based on common planning, establish their own priorities. This way, they can work flexibly and add individual value to the team. Achieving this depends significantly on excellent effective communication led by the team leader.

Challenges and Benefits of Communication in a Remote Work Team

The idea of being in continuous video calls all day is exhausting and stressful. However, many organizations have turned in-person workdays into continuous online meetings.

5 Keys to Effective Communication with Remote Teams

1. Avoid Isolation

The first key to effective communication and improving remote teamwork is to avoid total isolation. Numerous technological tools (video calls, instant messaging, collaborative digital boards) allow us to stay in touch with our colleagues. However, not all communication should rely on new technologies; sometimes a phone call can yield the best results.

2. Communicate Vision and Objectives

Remote work does not mean being disconnected. On the contrary, it’s more important than ever for team leaders to keep collaborators informed about where we are going, what we want to achieve, and how we plan to do it. Providing vision helps all members clarify team objectives, engage in dialogue, foster honest participation, build trust, and promote creativity and collaboration.

3. Lead the Team by Leading Communications

Utilize the chosen remote communication channels (video calls, messaging, etc.) to exercise good leadership, show genuine interest in the team’s work, offer availability, follow up, ensure deadlines are met, and seek moments for more informal communication without overwhelming others.

4. Organize Work in Online Team Meetings

Online team meetings are a crucial element of remote team structure. They offer the opportunity to inspire and lead—two key soft skills that managers need to handle fluently to involve all team members and make them feel that their work and collaboration are key to the team’s final result.

A weekly planning meeting is the ideal cadence for these team meetings, where it’s important to establish an agenda of topics and priorities. In these meetings, besides discussing topics affecting the whole team, the action plan for the next week will be set so that everyone knows what actions are being taken. This fosters collaboration and commitment among team members and provides an ideal context for socializing.

5. One-on-One Meetings

Remote teams lack hallway or coffee break moments, so the opportunity to build closer relationships must be approached differently. Individual conversations between the team leader and each team member, as well as among other team members, should be as regular as team meetings. These one-on-one meetings are crucial for building trust and relationships and provide countless benefits. They offer a context for discussing aspirations or concerns that individuals may prefer to address privately, making it an ideal time for listening, showing genuine interest, empathy, and assertiveness, and providing feedback on team members’ development.

Organizations are already leveraging the benefits of remote work teams, starting with efficiency. This trend, which came suddenly due to the health crisis, will soon become a completely natural way of working. Therefore, it is essential to continue developing and training your leadership skills to transition from being a good manager to being a great leader of your team.

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