Collaboration with colleagues is essential. While it may appear old-fashioned, regular communication with co-workers who share your physical workspace remains important. This is especially critical when managing a dispersed team since seamless communication has been identified as a key factor in effectively managing remote staff.
Keeping in touch with your distributed team has never been easier with the range of online collaboration tools at your disposal. While there are various methods to convey your message, it’s crucial to understand their distinct nuances and determine the optimal approach for each particular scenario.
Ways to Engage With Others in the Digital World
There are three primary classifications of the various types of software for online communication and collaboration. These categories include:
Asynchronous InteractionElectronic communication is becoming more popular as a way of collaborating with colleagues, as it enables people to send messages regardless of whether the recipient is physically present in the workplace. While email is the most common form of asynchronous interaction, other alternatives such as chat applications (such as Slack), project management tools (like Trello) and voice calling services (such as Skype) are also available. This mode of communication is highly useful because it allows people to respond to messages at their own convenience.
Synchronous InteractionThis real-time chat is an efficient way of communicating instantly with one or more individuals. You may be participating in a pre-arranged teleconference or utilizing services like GoToMeeting or Zoom to hold a group video chat. The benefit of this immediate communication method is its instant feedback. However, arranging synchronous communication can be difficult if colleagues are situated in different time zones.
In-Person MeetingsBringing all team members together can have a significant morale-boosting effect. You could arrange an office meeting on Thursdays, organize a team outing or a workplace picnic, or even schedule a day for remote workers to get acquainted. These events can bring team members closer and foster a better work environment.
Asynchronous chat functions are vital to the effective operation of remote teams. Although they are generally effective, the response time can be delayed when not all team members can react at the same time. For critical discussions, synchronous tools are the best choice.
Strategies for Maximizing Tool Utilization
To optimize your software’s success and your remote team’s efficiency, it’s crucial to not only identify the most appropriate virtual communication tools but also to leverage them in the most efficient way possible.
Provide Comprehensive Explanations of Your Processes
Setting up unambiguous communication channels with your remote team is crucial from the beginning. Each type of update should be conveyed through the most suitable communication medium based on the urgency and relevance of the message. For instance, non-essential project updates can be communicated via Trello card, while pressing matters should be conveyed using Skype. In case of an emergency, such as a ‘zombocalypse,’ the best way to reach me would be through a text message or a phone call on my mobile.
Failing to do so could lead to a critical piece of information being overlooked, resulting in your team taking the wrong steps. On the other hand, if a conversation is conducted in a group forum rather than a targeted platform, it may use up the time of all members involved, even when there is no immediate response required.
Determine When Team Members Are Available
At Works, we strongly encourage remote workers to adhere to the same schedule as their office-based colleagues for maximum productivity. We believe that following this approach makes communication smoother and helps keep track of progress. Nonetheless, if this recommendation is not feasible, it’s crucial to have a quick and effective way to monitor the work hours of all remote staff members.
Utilizing tools like World Time Buddy can prove advantageous in setting up meetings at a time that is convenient for all attendees. This ensures that you won’t accidentally disturb any of your remote workers who may be sleeping or on a personal engagement. Employing this tool guarantees that the meeting is scheduled at a time that works for everyone.
As a leader of a dispersed team, it is your duty to maintain consistent and frequent communication with your employees. If you are following the Agile development process, daily stand-up meetings should be conducted to take the pulse of your team and stay informed of any progress. If Agile methodology is not being used, it’s critical to prioritize checking in with your team and deliberating on adopting the Agile approach as described in our eBook, which delineates all the benefits of doing so.
Integrating a system for tracking progress towards objectives as a regular practice is crucial. Real-time monitoring of goals can significantly boost team morale by visually showcasing your team’s accomplishments. This serves as an inspiration and incentive for the team to continue striving for success.
Ensure to Read and Respond Only Once
Studies show that the level of non-verbal communication involved in conversations can differ widely, with some researchers stating it to be as low as a tiny percentage and others estimating it to be much greater. Regardless of the exact number, visual cues play a vital role in our comprehension of discussions. Regrettably, when text messages are the primary form of communication, these visual clues are absent, causing the speaker’s intention to be misunderstood, and the listener may misinterpret the message, leading to feelings of offence when none were intended.
When encountering a message that triggers discomfort, it’s prudent to use Hanlan’s Razor. Avoid jumping to conclusions and assuming ill intentions or hostility; instead, seek clarification if needed. Alternatively, exploring a variety of interpretations of the message may provide a better comprehension of the intended meaning.
Watch Your Language
It’s crucial to guarantee that your written communication aptly conveys your intended message. In teams comprising members from diverse cultural backgrounds, there’s a possibility that they may not comprehend the same colloquial language. Hence, it’s recommended to take a moment to peruse your written content before hitting send. Put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and try to envisage how they may perceive the message. If you are uncertain whether they will comprehend it, then it would be advantageous to modify your message.
Experts in communication unanimously agree that incorporating emojis and animations can improve message clarity. Though it may not be deemed a professional approach by some, employing visual representations can provide a better grasp of a concept. This is particularly true when communicating with individuals from the so-called ‘Generation Z’, who have been exposed to such technologies since a young age. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your audience and tailor the message’s tone accordingly.
Allocate Time for Discussion.
Communing with each other is crucial in fortifying interconnections between individuals. It’s much simpler to comprehend a concept when there’s a pre-existing relationship to it.
My friend possesses a remarkable degree of compassion and care, frequently sharing her views when she perceives someone is making an erroneous decision. Teaching others and standing up for her beliefs are among her passions, which can make her social media posts appear confrontational, judgmental, and pedantic to those unfamiliar with her. It’s disheartening to witness such posts as they fail to portray her true character.
Facilitating increased avenues for social communication among your virtual team can enhance their ability to work together fruitfully. Implement any necessary measures to promote intercommunication among team members, whether that entails a dedicated online platform or a virtual workspace.
Scaling a Steep Learning Curve
As you navigate the process of transitioning your employees to remote work, you may encounter certain obstacles. Hence, it’s crucial to seek out team members who are adept at working in this type of environment. If you require a team member to work remotely, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be pleased to assist you in any way possible.