Are you struggling with communication among your team members, when things went remote? Here is a guide to get things right with a perfect communication tool for remote teams. Read on!
No matter what business you operate in, teamwork is dream work. Naturally, if your team members fail to communicate and collaborate efficiently, your entire business falls flat on its outcomes and goals. This challenge aggravates even more when your team operates on a remote work scape.
But all hope is not lost. Today’s innovative communication tools ensure that remote working becomes the new normal. The best part? Done right, it can even go on leveraging your overall team productivity and efficiency. So what are these game-changing communication strategies?
This post takes a deep dive into each performance-inducing communication module to create the smoothest workflow for your remote working team in 2021.
Right communication tool
The core success of your team’s communication toolkit is made of a single element: how well your software can fulfill your communication goals. This makes fleshing out your true partner in a sea of productivity tools relatively simple. All you have to do is look for tools to solve or simplify your core communication challenges and tasks.
Following the same core principle, we have hand-curated a list of top five tips and strategies to bring you closer to your ideal tools. As a bonus, we have shared our best market picks with you so that you can achieve this even faster. Let’s dive in.
1. Document your communication methodology
One of the key indicators of an agile, high-performance remote team is robust and neat communications. This makes documenting your communication style and processes indispensable for maximum productivity. More so, it declutters your workspace and reduces communication gaps and redundancy.
A knowledge base software can do wonders here. But how do you ensure you are making the most of your knowledge base software?
The following two elements will set you up for your desired destination. However, if you want to dive deeper, here’s Slite’s knowledge base software guide at your assistance.
a. Set your communication goals
Putting down your goals of communication on paper for all your team members, existing and new, creates a more cohesive and unified vision towards interactions in your remote workspace. It enables you to have a high-level expectation and lays out your complete communication navigation system for your team.
b. Document writing style
Having documented a writing style helps to navigate your whole team to adhere to your company communication style and choice of words. More so, your remote employees can feel more connected to your core brand values.
2. Create a core communication toolkit
Having a core communication toolkit is essential for ensuring uninterrupted communications, whether real-time or scheduled. More so, adhering to a single communication system ensures your whole team is aware of the communication drill of your organization. Explaining and categorizing messages and communications based on priority and communication channels will ensure there is no delay or redundancy in your message flow.
For instance, a Whatsapp group might look like a great way to do a quick group chat between team members, but if you are trying to collaborate over a common file that you would like to revisit at a later stage, Slack is a way better option.
a. Decide core communication channel
Selecting your core communication channel is key to consistent, redundancy-free information transfer within your team members. Deciding a primary communication channel ensures your daily communication needs are fulfilled from a centralized system. This creates a clutter-free workspace where your productivity can thrive. This means whatever tool you settle for needs to be feature-heavy to qualify as your communication channel. Basecamp is a powerful tool to consider in this regard.
b. Decide on the collaboration tools
With a core communication tool, creating a list of your go-to collaboration tool is immensely critical. No matter if your operations just involve your in-house remote team members or external partners, real-time collaboration applications ensure you can get your work done at the fastest possible speed. Google Workspace is unbeatable in this regard.
Also Read: How to fix voice echoing?| A complete guide
3. Adhere to guidelines
Only creating core communication tools is not enough for reaching maximum productivity. You need to ensure that you plan your communications regularly. This can be achieved by understanding the core goal behind your meetings and conversations and allot a dedicated time slot monthly or weekly basis.
This will create simplified, clean, and efficient communications between your team members. The best part? It will successfully take out the unimportant chats that your teams have in an entire month. There is no point in having endless discussions over a topic that you might not even deploy in your organization.
This means whatever chats you have must be prioritized to take them to a discussion level at first. Following are a few ways you can navigate this to the right destination.
a. Create official communication hours
There is no use of a live discussion when most of your team members are not active or the least focused during the day. This makes early planning of your discussion hours a key ingredient to have a successful discussion. Planning your team discussions needs to have two key considerations. All your team members are available and at their peak performance for the day.
b. Schedule meetings and calls
Create a culture of pre-planning and prioritizing discussion calls and avoiding meetings whenever you can. This will create so much room for productivity and automate your team management. The best part? You can get rid of micro-management and let your team fly solo yet tied together. You can use a free Google calendar to do this easily.
4. Audit your past communications
If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. This makes regular audits of your communication activities, both scheduled and impromptu critical for optimizing productive work. A typical communication audit does not only help you find faults and gaps in your communication styles and spans but also reveals vulnerabilities of your choice of tools.
This means no matter where the fault is, be it in your operation process or the tools supporting it, you can always get your way around it. More than often, a productive auditing task starts with finding patterns in the past communications that boosted and dampened productivity and efficiency, respectively.
This can then be categorically divided into subtasks performed in different channels to develop creative ideas to improve the current situation. The following methods are a few ideas that you can readily implement to achieve your desired productivity goals.
a. Mention meeting goals
A recent survey revealed that meeting hours alone in the US cost a whopping $399 billion in 2019. This makes optimizing meetings and communications between team members crucial for maximum ROI (return on investment) and productivity.
Setting meeting goals and pre-planning your meeting durations can lay out a great start to optimize your current situation. But, a word of caution. You need to create the design as per your business’s unique needs. There is a ‘no size that fits all’ rule. Your business might work the best with long but low-frequency discussions. Or you might end up finding that short, high-frequency discussion sprints are the best way to scale.
b. Track inter-team communication hours
If there is one communication category that consumes valuable time after meetings, it is real-time team collaborations. This means tracking the daily activity of your team members for consecutive months can give you rich insights into the kind of conversations they are spending their time on.
Are the conversations concise and to the point, or are they deviating from the core message frequently? Answering these vital questions can give you room to improve with time. Toggl is a great tool to analyze your team’s interaction with different communication channels.
5. Create a database of past team communications
One of the key reasons why teams fail to be agile is they lack a proven system of retrieving information and insights from past successes and failures. Thus storing and organizing data of past discussions and team meetings becomes critical for creating a robust communication system. This can be easily achieved by integrating tools and certain disciplines in your routine communication procedure. Here are a few promising ways to do so.
a. Record your past meetings
The first thing you should do during your scheduled and ad hoc meeting hours is to put the record mode on. There is so much value that you can gain from this single activity. Recording meeting sessions not only help you to go back to your past discussion sessions but improves the focus and quality of meetings.
Instead of dividing your meeting activities between discussions and note-taking, you can just focus on bringing the most creative ideas on board. Zoom is a great tool to do this.
b. Archive chats
Having duplicate copies of your chat histories while collaborating with your team members is another critical communication point. No matter what tool you are using, whether it is Slack or Microsoft Team, putting tags and exporting complete conversation threads for future references can be a huge benefit in the long term.
The above tips and tools are sure to positively impact the way your remote team operates now. But if you need to bring sustainable teamwork, you need to look beyond tools. So what exactly can bring this change? An empathetic culture is all you need.
Just like your target audience, your team members need to be understood. Knowing their mindset and comfort zones will help you design communication programs that can bring the best performances both on an individual and team level. So now there is just one question to answer. When are you leveraging the above tips for building your communication toolkit?