Remote team collaboration requires two basic things: thoughtful consideration and some adaptations for the virtual office. As more teams go digital and turn to remote work, it’s important to remember that the kinds of nuanced communication you get in an office setting don’t necessarily translate online.
Establishing a system for team collaboration and communication goes a long way in making sure your team is productive and happy.
Context Is King
When you’re communicating digitally, you never know exactly what the other person is doing at that moment. They might be at their desk just like you are, or they may be frantically rushing to a sales meeting, only responding “Yes” to your question and not elaborating because they don’t have time.
Without understanding the other person’s context, you might think that person doesn’t care about the issue you brought up when they’re really just running to use the restroom or to help their child. With information about their context, the curt answers suddenly make sense: It’s not that your coworker doesn’t care, they are just indisposed at the moment.
Prefacing communication with your context can really help to prevent any miscommunication when things are out of the ordinary. Let team members know when you are heads down on a project and can’t respond to questions right away. Over communicating is always better than making assumptions.
Establish Ground Rules
If you’re already working in a remote team, chances are your team has its roster of favorite tools. The important question to ask yourself is how and when to use these tools to convey the right information. All of these considerations can be boiled down to a simple question that saves you a lot of time and mental energy.
For example, if you have a project update that is not time-sensitive, pinging people in chat may be distracting and take them away from the brilliant state of concentrational zen they’ve been trying to reach all day.
Chat Tools Vs. Video Calls
Consider these four ideas:
- Communicating with a textual interface like chat or email can hide intention and humanity: Keep in mind that at the end of the chat is a human being with feelings and reactions.
- If you have constructive feedback to give, do it over a video call so your intentions come across in a more warm and human way.
- Due to a lack of verbal and emotional cues, one person may perceive a chat interaction as an argument when the other person perceives it as a discussion.
- Resentment builds over time due to underlying issues not being addressed. Digital communication gone rogue can breed misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Address these issues before they become a problem.
The easiest way to nip this in the bud is by recognizing the humanity in team members via seeing their face on a video call. It’s a game-changer for teams wanting to increase and enhance their collaborative efforts.
CallTower has resources for companies transitioning to a remote workforce, including our Resource Center, and a Free Conferencing Deal (good through June 30, 2020) that can be found at the link below: