With many businesses forced to send employees home due to the spread of Covid-19, the question arises: "How can teams effectively communicate in a remote work environment?" Thanks to technology, distance is no longer an obstacle in communication. Keeping in touch and sharing ideas from across the globe are only a phone call, email, or video call away.
Three Keys to Effective Communication
Communication is a two-way process of reaching a mutual understanding between participants who are not only exchanging information, but also creating and sharing meaning. The effectiveness of communication depends on three factors: the content, the context, and the receiver.
Focus on the content—the actual words. Whether it's an email, video call, or chat message, be as clear as possible. If you need a response, be explicit. If there is a deadline, be specific. Poorly written messages can easily be misinterpreted and walking down the hall to ask for clarification isn't an option.
Don't forget about the context—body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Although communication between remote workers is frequently written in emails and chats, be mindful of video calls. Someone's face on a computer monitor is only a small window into what is going on around them.
Consider the receiver. This is very important when working apart.
How should you communicate? Email is effective for delivering data, but it is a poor method of communicating personal information. Phone calls and video sessions are better for communicating personal messages about performance or praise.
What should you communicate? In addition to sharing pertinent information for workers to accomplish their jobs, keeping remote workers "in the loop" may also help them feel more connected. Just because you can’t physically see them doesn’t mean you should stop sharing information.
How frequently should you communicate? Leaders should interact with their team daily, especially in a remote environment. Frequent check-ins keep everyone on the same page. Make sure your team understands the purpose of these check-ins so they are not perceived as micromanaging.
Although it may seem challenging to stay in contact with your team during this transition, it’s up to you as the leader to set the example. Incorporating these three factors of communication while your team is working remotely will help you set them up for success during this period.
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