Organising meetings between developers who are based in different locations can often be challenging. It is of the utmost importance for distributed teams to ensure that communication is clear and concise during online conferences. All team members must be proactive and collaborate to guarantee effective communication.
The continued prevalence of remote working is becoming increasingly apparent. An increasing number of people are choosing to work from home, and evidence suggests that this trend will remain even following the global pandemic. The IT recruitment sector and job market in general also appear to be adapting to the growing demand for remote working arrangements.
As a team manager, it is your responsibility to lead your team members and encourage effective communication in the virtual workplace. With the advent of the digital age, chances are that you will need to participate in virtual meetings in the near future. With this in mind, we have gathered some useful advice and tips from those who have been working remotely for over ten years. This information should help you to ensure your meetings are as successful and productive as possible.
How Can a Remote Team Communicate Effectively?
It is important to consider the value of investing time and energy into holding a meeting when determining the expected outcomes. In order to ensure that all team members are engaged, it is essential to accurately estimate the requirements and expectations from the start. There are two key advantages to conducting meetings online, which should be taken into consideration when making a decision.
In order to foster collaboration, it is essential to start with informal dialogue. This is particularly true when looking to establish a partnership across departments or bring a new employee into the fold. Effective communication is vital in such scenarios; conversely, dedicating an hour of discussion to the respective tasks of each division would be a waste of time, and worse still, the use of inconsequential project-related chit-chat as a means of developing camaraderie is not advisable. People are eager to contribute to a collective effort without having to invest a great deal of their own resources.
In order to progress with your project, it is essential that you decide on a course of action, find a solution, or come up with new ideas. As such, the primary focus of the meeting should be to get everyone on the same page regarding their roles and expectations. For example, the Chabot on your website has received some negative feedback and needs to be updated. Therefore, you should initiate discussions with the company’s developer and marketing manager to come up with innovative ideas for improving the user interface.
It is essential that the video conference is organised with sufficient notice to enable all attendees to take part and make their contribution. By doing so, the participants will be able to benefit from the following:
- Prepare a list.
- Work out the issues to cover and who you should consult to kick off a fruitful conversation.
- Guide the dialogue toward potential techniques that encourage collaborative solutions rather than assessments of shared facts.
Everybody’s time should be well spent, and that’s the goal here as well.
Insights on 9 Guidelines for Team Communication
No of the objective, teamwork and coordination are essential. Here are nine suggestions for improving team communication in online gatherings:
- Make use of appropriate methods of communication.
- Determine overarching norms
- Select the most convenient time.
- Get ready for the next online conference.
- Find the right folks and invite them over.
- Avoid being too rigid.
- Respect cultural norms and preferences.
- Concentrate on the outcomes
- Prove yourself a leader.
1. Make sure you’re using effective means of communication
It is essential that all members of your team possess the necessary tools for them to be able to do their job efficiently. Before taking any other steps, ensure their Internet connection is reliable. Research conducted by Zen Internet has shown that eighty-nine percent of remote employees lose more than thirty minutes each day due to an inadequate Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, an opinion poll conducted by Whistleout revealed that eighty-three percent of remote workers said they would be more effective if they were disconnected from the Internet for at least half of the working day.
Depending on the type of discussion you are looking to have, you may want to select the appropriate medium. If you are looking to talk about next actions or motivate your team to work together, then Zoom or Microsoft Team Meeting would be suitable. However, if you require access to high-definition files, drawings or code reviews, you may want to consider other options, such as whiteboards or Github, in order to find the best site for your needs.
In summary, it is imperative that your communication tools are reliable and that your staff are properly trained in using them. It would be disastrous to try out a new group video conferencing system for the first time at a vital meeting only to find that it does not work.
2. Set up Basic Guidelines
It is essential to bear in mind that remote employees do not necessarily operate on a traditional nine-to-five schedule. Due to the varying time zones and individual work patterns, it is necessary to consider the availability of each team member. Although 4pm may be convenient for you, it could be the middle of the night for someone else. Even if a remote developer agrees to a meeting at an unconventional hour, they may not be at their most productive, and thus may not be able to contribute to the discussion to their fullest potential.
In order to ensure that all staff are kept up-to-date on progress and have suitable time to complete their tasks, it is advisable to introduce a set of regulations, such as weekly status reports and mandatory meetings. Having a regular time each week to check in with each other will provide staff with the flexibility they need, while also ensuring that work is being completed within the desired timeframe.
3. Pick the Right Moment
When it comes to scheduling regular meetings, it is worth considering the example of Immanuel Kant. The German philosopher’s groundbreaking ideas in Western philosophy, as well as his strict daily routines, earned him worldwide recognition. This is something that is discussed in one of his logic books. According to Kant, it is most effective to process and retain new information in the morning, while thoughts and theories are better understood and reflected upon after taking a leisurely walk in the afternoon.
Recent research has confirmed the theory that people’s judgement and decision-making are most accurate in the morning. This makes sense as it is when our minds are freshest and most alert. In contrast, it is advisable to engage in brainstorming in the afternoon, when fatigue can lead to a greater openness to new ideas and a higher likelihood of finding innovative solutions.
Maintaining a regular schedule can be especially challenging in a remote working environment. Nonetheless, it is important to remain mindful of the needs of everyone on your team when establishing a plan that works for everyone.
4. Preparing for a Virtual Meeting
In order to ensure effective team communication, it is essential to disseminate a strategy with at least 24 hours’ notice. This will help to prevent team members from feeling isolated from each other and allow them time to think about their own questions and points to raise during the meeting. By making use of concise bullet points, it is possible to ensure that the conversation is productive and focused. This will also allow each team member to have the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas in an organised manner.
It is essential that we adopt the remaining, albeit small, yet essential requirements. For example, reminding people to disable notifications or signalling for comments are two ways to ensure that everyone feels comfortable to voice their opinions. It is recommended that you find the methods that work best for you. Having a note-taker to upload their notes to a shared online document is an excellent way to remind everyone of the key points and next steps.
5. Those Who Need to Be There should be Invited
If you are looking to ensure that your team is able to communicate effectively, a useful tip is to limit the amount of people involved in a meeting. Keeping the number of attendees to the essential individuals will help the meeting to progress more efficiently, and can also result in a greater number of people engaging in the discussion.
It can be incredibly tedious to have an excessive amount of conversation and lengthy discussions. When planning your next sales or marketing strategy, it is important to ensure that the group is made up of the appropriate number of people, each with their own set of background and ideas, so that the process can be expedited. Only those who are able to make decisive decisions regarding the issue should be included in the search for a resolution.
Save time and increase efficiency by setting an agenda and limiting the number of attendees.
6. Don’t Be Too Strict
Having an agenda, arriving on time and avoiding unnecessary delays are all essential components of successful online meetings. However, it can be beneficial to incorporate some team-building activities into the meeting to enhance the overall experience. One great example could be a ‘elevator pitch’ activity, in which each team member is given the opportunity to quickly explain their job role and a bit about themselves. Dedicating time to team development is especially important when people are working a remote job.
Having a good rapport with colleagues is essential for the success of any workplace, however, it is important to remember that this does not necessarily have to mean that you need to be great friends. If employees are not able to feel comfortable expressing their opinions, this can lead to a decrease in efficiency over time as mistakes can be made and important questions may be left unasked. This can create an environment of misunderstanding, which can be detrimental to the success of the team. It is therefore important to be mindful of how you use your time and ensure that you are creating a workplace where employees feel supported and able to communicate effectively.
7. Be Sensitive to Cultural Variations
Due to the potential linguistic and cultural barriers, intercultural communication can sometimes be a challenge. To successfully communicate in such a situation, it is essential to have access to the right technology and a strong grasp of the English language. Thus, it is not necessary to provide any additional support when interacting with staff members.
Despite the best efforts of the development team, it is possible that they may encounter difficulties such as deadline pressure and confusion with regards to debugging. In order to ensure that all team members remain on the same page, it is suggested that a moderator is present during meetings. This facilitator would be responsible for ensuring that the team remains focused and on task, encourages active participation from all members, and plans for the future.
Training your staff on the potential cultural differences which could arise is beneficial in preventing any issues. For instance, certain cultures do not view interruptions as being disrespectful, however other societies may take offence to this.
Ensuring that everyone is on the same page, verifying that all communication has been understood, and educating remote developers about the team’s cultural values will help to ensure that virtual meetings between team members are conducted as effectively as possible.
As team members, it is important to remember to keep humour and jokes appropriate. Certain types of comedy can be deeply offensive to particular groups of people, and this can lead to tensions and strained relationships between team members. It is important to be mindful of how people are responding to any humour, and to aim to use comedy to bring people together, rather than to cause division or animosity.
8. Pay Attention to Outcomes
It is important to ensure that meetings do not end with the word ‘maybe’, as this can leave team members feeling dissatisfied. ‘Maybe’ implies that no further action has been decided upon, meaning the team will likely continue to pursue ineffective strategies. In order to achieve the desired outcome, it may be necessary to apply more pressure or force. To ensure team members feel their efforts are appreciated and valued, it is important to motivate and praise them for their work during online meetings. This will show that their hard work is being recognised and will encourage them to strive for even better results.
9. Take the Initiative and Lead
As the leader of your team, it is important to ensure that communication is efficient and effective. It is crucial to set an example for your team members and establish a collaborative environment. With this in mind, it is important to monitor the conversations between members of your team, noting the humour, demeanour, and character of each individual. If you manage to achieve a good balance between these elements, it will be much easier to keep the team on track and ensure that everyone is working together.
Successful Group Conversation and Communication Step One: Recruit the Best Possible Team Member
It is essential to bear in mind that every team is unique, especially when working in a virtual environment. By using the advice suggested above, you will be able to adjust and refine your meetings over time to decide what works best for your team. Creating a cohesive team is important, but it is even more essential to ensure that the right people are hired in the first place before thinking about how to communicate effectively with the group.
It is indeed true that the wrong candidate can have a detrimental impact on collaboration, just as much as poor communication or slow internet speeds. If you require assistance, you can be sure to get it from us here at Works. We are professional IT and remote worker recruiters and we will take care of all the aspects of the recruitment and onboarding processes for the individual you are looking to employ. Should you have any worries or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.