Of course, for anyone who’s tried to decipher an email with an unclear tone or troubleshoot a video call, more communication doesn’t always mean better communication.
Improving how you communicate with your team members can make a virtual project even more effective and efficient than a team working in the same physical space.
With eight global offices (and counting!), Wizeline knows a thing or two about remote collaboration. It’s not always easy, but it’s the price you pay to able to work with the brightest minds, regardless of geography. We’re sharing a few of our best practices for achieving remote collaboration.
1. Brief Isn’t Always Best
Shooting off a short reply to a question may leave your collaborators in more confusion than before. This leads to teams wasting valuable time trying to decipher what you’re trying to say, creating stress and crippling productivity. This is especially true if they misinterpret what you’re trying to say or there’s a time delay between your messages.
If your messages have cues or meanings that aren’t made explicit in the text, consider writing them out. While no one wants three paragraphs when three sentences would do, overexplaining is better than underexplaining when it comes to digital collaboration.
2. Choose Your Mediums Wisely
Having more ways to stay in touch means we now have more things asking for our attention. Email, texts, phone calls, instant messages, project management tools, video conferences—how do we stay on top of it all?
Establish with your team what technologies you all prefer to use, or not use. Stick to a short list to help reduce how many channels need your attention. That way, your team stays responsive and sane during a virtual project.
Also, limit the frequency and number of mediums you use to follow up on any single item. Using text, phone, email, and an in-person visit to someone’s desk is probably not the most efficient (or popular) way to make sure a task gets done. It can comes across as pushy, causing resentment and creating stress down the line.
3. Make Sure You Speak the Same (Digital) Language
Even face-to-face communication can lead to trouble when two parties have different ideas about what a successful interaction looks like. Add a digital element, and all sorts of misunderstandings can happen.
Organizations with remote workers need to create and establish norms to ensure clarity and prevent missed cues. These can be on a company level, a team level, or on an individual basis. Setting expectations for responses, for example, what length of time you should get back to someone by, whether responses are accepted after-hours, what length or tone the message should use, all make digital conversations more predictable and transparent on all sides.
It’s Not All Bad
Digital communication does create new opportunities for bringing your team members closer together. It levels the playing field for introverted employees who express themselves more fully online than they do in face-to-face meetings. Personalized emojis and dedicated moments for celebration can create bonding moments for teams that otherwise are physically far apart.
In conclusion, using technology with care and purpose leads to excellent opportunities for remote teams to beat their co-located counterparts.
If you’re interested in what a world-class remote team can do to meet your goals, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or begin scoping your project here. We’re ranked as a top-5 development team in San Francisco according to Clutch, a B2B reviews firm, and The Manifest, a business-to-business blog.