Working remotely with dispersed teams is quite a challenge. Physical proximity often proves invaluable in avoiding misunderstandings, with body language often clarifying the meaning of the message delivered. But when you're miles apart, misunderstandings can build up to the point of conflict. How can you promote effective communication when telecommuting? Here's our advice.
Clarity and precision
It's the first thing to do when it comes to communicating effectively at a distance: message precision is of paramount importance. To avoid ambiguities, it's vital to structure your ideas clearly, while providing as much detail as possible. The use of precise, explicit words greatly minimizes the possibility of misinterpretation.
Appropriate choice of communication tools
There are now a multitude of communication channels. But which are the ones to use? We're tempted to say all of them. It depends, in fact, on the objective sought. E-mails are not necessarily widely used by remote teams anymore. They may, however, be preferred for very detailed, formal communications. Video calls can be justified for complex discussions. As for instant messaging platforms, they make it easy to communicate, for example, when an emergency arises and a question needs to be answered quickly. Among the most widely used platforms today are Slack, Discord and Microsoft Teams.
Active listening and reformulation
Remote work requires active listening. It is also advisable to reformulate the information delivered to ensure that the message is properly understood. In the event of ambiguity, don't hesitate to ask questions to reduce the risk of misunderstanding.
Training and awareness-raising
As in any field of activity, communicating, and above all communicating well, requires mastery of a certain number of skills. Training your teams in this essential area is bound to be a worthwhile investment, especially for a full remote company. It's also an opportunity to provide employees with strategies for reducing misunderstandings and conflicts.
Feedback is to be encouraged. It plays an essential role in communication when you work from home. It helps everyone to improve in this area, and to better understand each other's expectations. That's right. Successful communication is often personalized communication.
Reflection and continuous improvement
After each remote interaction, why not take a step back to assess the quality of communication? This is a good time to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Then share them with other team members to optimize what needs to be improved.
Technology evolves at a breathtaking pace. Constant adaptation to new communication methods is more important than ever. It's essential to maintain effective communication over time.
Speed is not haste
Everything, right away is often the motto of an age when everything moves so quickly. But communication doesn't always have to be synchronous. When you work in a remote job, you may have to collaborate with a colleague in a completely different time zone. That's why, in many cases, asynchronous communication is the best solution.
Asynchronous communication at the heart of remote work
Asynchronous communication is undeniably one of the pillars of remote work. It has many advantages:
- It allows you to think things through before responding. This encourages more elaborate, better-structured exchanges.
- As we have seen, it ignores time constraints, enabling members of the same team separated by thousands of kilometers to collaborate with each other, regardless of time zone differences.
- Asynchronous communication also enables teleworkers to manage their time more efficiently. Their days can be organized around tasks that deserve sustained attention. This reduces interruptions and encourages better concentration. What about answering messages? Unless absolutely urgent, they will be delivered at a more opportune moment.
- Finally, by their very nature, asynchronous exchanges leave a written and archived record of discussions. This makes it easier to retrieve information and understand the processes that led to a decision.
Cohesion, productivity and technological progress
Effective communication is essential when working remotely. It is essential for maintaining the cohesion and productivity of dispersed teams and depends, in large part, on our mastery of the digital tools at our disposal. The integration of artificial intelligence and natural language processing technologies could continue to revolutionize the way we interact remotely, facilitating real-time translation, improving understanding of linguistic nuances and optimizing the management of exchanged information.