Are employees more productive when they work remotely? According to a study by Connect Solutions, up to 77% of employees feel they are. However, working remote isn’t a guarantee that productivity will skyrocket.
For remote teams, consistent communication is the key to continued success. When distributed teams connect without friction, they produce a higher quality of work. If your team struggles to communicate, it can be challenging to achieve this consistency.
Whether it's due to ineffective software or processes, poor communication is a huge blocker for distributed teams. We have a distributed team, so we understand these common problems. As a result, we've created some powerful strategies that are sure to improve team communication.
The Most Effective Team Communication Strategies for the Distributed Workforce
The leading companies with distributed workforces get the best results from their teams because of one reason: they understand their communication challenges fully. Companies such as Wikimedia, Toptal, GitHub and other top remote companies use these pain points to improve. They create better processes, invest in more innovative tools, and deploy leaner systems.
Every team is different, but here are some team communication strategies that can transform how your team connects.
1. Equipping your team with tools and systems that meet your needs.
With the right communication tools, your team can get the support and structure they need to do great work. Yet, you can’t merely implement a tool and call it a day. To onboard your team to new technology, it helps to have standards about using the platform.
For example, if you’re a remote team that starts using a tool like InVision, your goal may be to get better feedback on design projects. To ensure your team can fulfill that goal, it will be helpful to communicate when and how to provide feedback. When should an update go into InVision versus Slack? Which team members should provide feedback in InVision?
These clarifications can improve team communication and keep everyone moving at the same pace.
2. Ask and encourage team members to give feedback.
Whether you're kicking off a new project or investing in a new tool, invite everyone on the team to provide feedback. This should occur during and after the project. You improve morale and help team members feel valued while making improvements to your processes.
To gather ideas regularly, you can use employee feedback tools like 15Five, TinyPulse, and RoundPegg. When you wrap up a project, you can hold a post-mortem meeting to assess its success. A culture that encourages employees to share opinions is great for improving team communication.
3. Be completely transparent with your goals, mission, and progress.
In traditional office spaces, there are a lot of meetings behind closed doors. As work evolves, companies are becoming more transparent about goals and finances. It's especially useful for remote teams to share context about progress. It's especially useful for remote teams to share context about progress.
To share as much as possible with their team, Seattle based tech company Moz pioneered "TAGFEE" or a set of core values that encourages transparency. Former CEO, Rand Fishkin, explained the importance of transparency as:
"Making your own work transparent to your team members and making team efforts transparent to the rest of the company is absolutely critical to upholding this ethic. It makes us all participants in each other’s work, rather than siloed and unaccountable."
By prioritizing transparency, teams can build rapport, address conflict, and more effectively collaborate.
4. Invest in developing your team's communication skills.
There are dozens of types of communicators. If you can understand the preferred communication style of each of your employees, you can use that information to improve your team. There are a ton of employee assessments to choose from, such as Myers-Briggs, DiSC Behavior Inventory, and the Keirsey Test.
Once you pinpoint communication styles, you can invest in employee professional development. Resources such as courses, mentoring, and workshops help employees improve their communication.
Team Communication Strategies for the Distributed Workforce
On any remote team, fluid communication is going to take effort. Your entire team must be bought into communicating on a superior level, and the right technology can help.