Communicating with your colleagues face to face is not easy to begin with. After all, the office is made up of a collection of individuals with distinct personalities, work styles and social habits.
Now that many more are working remotely, communicating at work has become more important and more difficult than ever before.
But with technology, physical separation and lack of face-to-face communication can be overcome! Here are some ways you can improve team communication when working from home.
Keep your texts to one another friendly
When you’re frustrated or preoccupied, it can be easy to give one word answers or a curt reply when a colleague texts you. It’s easy for misunderstandings to occur when the tone of your words changes abruptly in a conversation because there’s no body language or expression to help them gauge what’s going on.
Text is, after all, a medium that we use to communicate succinctly. However, when working from home, it’s less important to keep it short and sweet and more important to convey mood and meaning.
It’ll take some time to master the art of sending friendly work texts without coming off as being too formal or too impolite, so be patient with yourself and with your colleagues. Try to give your teammates the benefit of the doubt before you jump to conclusions about what they mean!
Talk remotely like you would in the office
The lack of faces and voices can make it difficult for employees to feel connected to each other when they’re physically apart. Encourage your team to talk to their colleagues the way they would in the office.
Greet each other when you sit down to work just like you would when you’re entering the office with a “good morning” text or a comment about the weather or your mood. Ask about one another as you warm up and start your engines.
This can help the members of your team feel less isolated and more like they’re working together. It’s also a good way for managers to keep track of who has “reported to work” and who’s still catching a snooze.
Create an online lounge
Give your team a space to talk about non-work things. Without an actual office lounge to relax in, have coffee and small talk, set up an online space on one of the plentiful messaging apps out there or start a discord channel for your team.
Many of these short conversations that happen in person should still happen when your team is working remotely in order to keep the team united and build up mutual understanding of one another’s work and personal lives.
Stick to one or two virtual communication platforms
Having too many channels of communication open can impede rather than improve team communication. Just like how each person has two ears (and eyes) instead of five, limit your team’s communication methods to just one or two apps.
This will help to lower the learning curve your employees will face when communicating remotely with your team for the first time as well as enable them to focus on their work instead of keeping watch for notifications across a dozen other apps.
Remember that text-based communication can be difficult for some, and that employees still have to communicate with other teams/clients through various other means, so sticking to one or two team communication platforms will make things easier for everyone.