Communications Best Practices

Last Updated Apr 2020
Communications Best Practices

All teams working from home must have good communication strategies in place to survive and thrive. Where there is no proper communication, there is always confusion, misinterpretations and failed relationships.

When working in an office, a team has numerous ways to interact and bond with each other; whenever they want, they can walk over to the other person and start a conversation.

But a remote team doesn’t have this luxury. They have their own unique communication challenges, such as having to coordinate around different time zones or language barriers, dealing with the distance that can affect the team spirit, etc.

Here’s how you can bridge the virtual gap between your remote team members with good communication best practices.

Establish guidelines

Establish communication guidelines

Set rules on when and how to use the communications tools . When to use chat, email, video calls, etc. and the reasons why. For example, if it’s an urgent request, an instant message on your chat platform is ideal than a video call or email.

Have a limited set of tools

Have a limited set of tools for communication

Having too many tools will make it difficult for you to stay focused and get in touch with your team at the right time. Give the tools you use a specific purpose and use it primarily for that. For example, use Google Hangouts Meet only for video calls and Slack for instant messages.

Always incorporate visuals

Always incorporate visuals so what you are explaining can be simplified

Fact: visuals help process information faster. If you need to communicate an idea, quickly break it down using a mind map and share it with others, or do so in real-time with a visual collaboration tool like Creately where everyone can contribute their ideas.

Always incorporate visuals

Centralize and index information

Centralize and index information for easy access and retrieval

Put documents, files, resources and assets in a common place in a good organizational structure. At Creately, we use Google Drive and a well-defined folder structure so that everything is easily accessible to everyone.

Keep all communications public

Keep all communications public

While it’s important to have specific channels dedicated to each team/ department (i.e. #marketing, #development, etc,), when a related issue occurs, discuss them in the relevant public channel. This will notify others and help gather the input of everyone.

Connect on a personal level

Encourage people to connect on a personal level

While in an office, co-workers have the privilege to turn around and talk to each other, chat while having lunch or by the coffee machine , it’s not the same for remote teams. They need to make an extra effort to do so. It can be helpful to have an online space, a WhatsApp group chat, Slack channel, Facebook Group, etc. where everyone can share all the fun non-work related stuff. Or play a multiplayer online game.

List everyone’s phone numbers

Have everyone’s phone numbers listed in a central database

Or keep the numbers of the people you are working closely with, including your managers saved on your phone. This would come in handy during an emergency, or when you just want to talk to them (i.e. about a personal matter).

Recognize success

Recognize success

When working from different locations, it’s easy to feel disconnected from one another. One may feel they are not recognized enough or their work is not appreciated enough. This can be prevented if the team makes an effort to constantly celebrate each other’s work. Someone hit a milestone? Give them a quick shout- out on the Slack channel or appreciate their efforts with a personal email. This will keep everyone motivated.

Be mindful of your tone

Be mindful of your tone

In written communication, the recipient cannot judge your tone or feelings. This often leads to misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Avoid such situations by going the extra mile to write more than you intended to clearly convey your message. Add in an emoji or two to humanize and convey emotions. When talking about a sensitive matter, always switch to video instead of chat.