Remote team communication: How to collaborate effectively | Article by Loopin
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Remote team communication: How to collaborate effectively

With employees based all over the place, even across the globe, how do you ensure people collaborate effectively? Fortunately, there has been time to figure it out in the past couple of years.
by Lily Veale / September 20, 2022 / 4 min read
Remote team communication: How to collaborate effectively

Just over two years ago, the world of work was plunged into chaos. As we all well know, the pandemic forced organisations to send everyone home. The moment for remote working had arrived.

As businesses scrambled to equip employees with the tools necessary to do their jobs remotely, most found that employees were just as productive as they were in the office. If not more so.

Spotify recently shared its own success with the remote work business model. Just over a year ago, they allowed all 6000+ employees to work from home. Since then, they have improved diverse representation and reduced staff turnover.

Working with remote teams

There are so many benefits to remote working. Employees are often happier and healthier, they are more productive, and because they have a better work-life balance, they can spend more time with their families or on their hobbies. So, when they are at work, they are more focused on their output with a clear mindset and appreciation for a good work-life balance. Pretty good, huh?

But, if you’ve found this blog looking to improve your remote team communication, we’re probably preaching to the converted. Since the pandemic, remote working has firmly cemented itself as a common working practice. But that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges.

One of the biggest issues with working with remote teams is, in fact, keeping everyone working as a team.

With employees based all over the place, even across the globe, how do you ensure people collaborate effectively? Fortunately, there has been time to figure it out in the past couple of years.

So, let’s dive right in with some remote team communication best practices:

1. Ensure employees understand their personal responsibilities as well as the common goals of the team and wider organisation

When employees know how to carry out their work with clarity, life is easier for the whole team, and as the manager, you have way more control over the outcomes.

Be sure to have a documented process to guide your team with set KPIs and targets. It’s important that everyone has an understanding of what is expected of them and how the whole team is working together towards the North Star.

2. Implement effective tools to aid effective communication

Having the right tools in place can not only aid collaboration, but also help with employee wellbeing, social interaction, and workplace culture too.

The most important part of effective communication within teams is having a real-time understanding of how each individual is really feeling.

That’s exactly why we’ve designed Loopin with remote and hybrid teams in mind. Unlike traditional employee surveys, which are impersonal, generic, and way too infrequent, Loopin provides daily, real-time insight to managers. This allows you to spot when employees are trending towards stress or burnout, before engagement issues affect your business outcomes.

Loopin also connects hybrid teams through social connectivity in the activity feed. Here, employees can offer support and kudos on the check-ins from their peers, connecting on a deeper level and forming friendships based on mutual trust and understanding.

Take this post from Isobel Cowell as an example of Loopin in action:

Isobel Cowell - LinkedIn post

Other tools that keep Team Loopin connected on WFH days include Slack, Notion, and Linear.

3. Lead with care and understanding, and take an interest in your people’s lives outside of work

As the manager of distributed workers, it becomes even more important to connect with your people on a human level.

Empathetic leaders take an interest in those around them, what makes them tick, what inspires them, and how they feel, within both their home and work life. They have a high level of emotional intelligence and make the difference between an employee showing up to work as their true self or a made-up version.

A great indication of how comfortable your employees feel, are whether you hear them say things like:

  • I’m not sure
  • I have an idea
  • Could you explain that in more detail?
  • I’ve made a mistake
  • I have some feedback

    If your team does say things like that, you’ve provided a psychologically safe environment for them to express their thoughts and feelings. Kudos to you!

    4. Tailor your leadership to the individual’s needs - and NEVER micromanage

    Micromanaging people sucks the life out of the team and creates endless stress for the manager themself. It actively stops people from growing their skills and confidence, and prevents people developing relationships built on trust.

    A significant aspect of remote working is giving your team a clear brief, the necessary tools to complete the work, and the trust that they’ll deliver.

    Be aware of how often you are asking for updates from your team. Too much and you will soon cause employees to switch off. Instead, give them autonomy, empower them to complete projects, and keep communication channels strong.

    If you’re used to a more hands-on approach to management, it may be difficult to adapt your ways. But your team will thank you for it! Not only that, but you’ll free up a lot of your time to focus on your own workload, goals, and development too.

    6. Remember, everyone is human with individual needs

    When you’re looking at your computer all day without seeing another person, it can be easy to forget that the colleague on your screen is also human. Remote team communication and collaboration in remote teams is a different kettle of fish from being in an office together.

    You’ll no doubt have to adapt your style of communication and management to the individual. Ask your team how they like to work, how they like to be managed, and how they like to communicate.

    Here at Loopin, we created ‘How I Work’ documents for this. We’ve outlined how we like to receive briefs and feedback, how we use tools like email and Slack, and what we’d like from our leadership team in terms of 1-2-1s.

    We find this super helpful to refer to throughout the week, and always get new starters to complete one of these too!

    Our top tips for remote team communication?

  • Prioritise employee care above everything else
  • Check in on employees regularly
  • Encourage your team to socialise and talk about things other than their work
  • Tailor your communication and approach depending on how the individual best works
  • Recognise and listen to every voice, particularly the ones that often go unnoticed
  • Communicate with precision, clarity, and transparency

    Communication is the most critical element of a remote team, and how you communicate with your team can mean the difference between success and failure. Use our top tips to maintain good and easy-to-manage collaboration, and you’ll have remote team communication nailed in no time!

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