how to improve team communication

7 Techniques Remote Teams Can Use to Improve Team Communication

Effective communication is a solution to a myriad of problems in teams. See for yourself. 

Gallup’s 2023 State of Global Workplace showed that disengagement among employees resulted in a $8.8 trillion loss in 2023.

But how do you keep people from different cultures, time zones, and ages engaged? That’s the challenge of remote team managers.

The same report provides a clear answer: improving team communication. 

Effective communication for remote teams keeps members well-connected, informed, and involved.

And, good communication will help you retain your teams longer – as a Microsoft report shows, 43% of employees in 2023 are considering changing jobs.

In this article, we’ll share seven key techniques to boost team communication for remote teams to facilitate stakeholder engagement and productivity— even with geographical and cultural boundaries.

Let’s dive in!

Choose the Right Communication Tools for Your Remote Team

Tools are the foundation of how your remote team communicates and collaborates. They directly impact your team’s productivity, individual member’s visibility, and cohesion.

With the right tools, your team members can access critical information more easily, interact on an organized manner, and share project updates on-time.

You need to pick the appropriate tools for your team’s synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication happens in real-time, like video conferencing, while asynchronous communication doesn’t require an immediate response like a Slack message.

To know the communication tools you need, here’s what to consider:

  • The type of communication your team requires- i.e., text-based, video communication for meetings and discussions, collaborative workspaces, document sharing, etc.
  • Tools that integrate easily with your existing software and systems.
  • Scalability and the ability to accommodate growth in your remote team.
  • Accessibility across various operating systems and user-friendliness
  • Robust security to protect sensitive data from potential threats and breaches

Here are a couple of remote work collaboration tools you can consider:

Tool nameCategoryFeatures and Benefits 
Similar tools:Asana, ClickUp, Basecamp
Project managementE.g., software development projects, marketing campaigns, IT support initiativesFlexible issues tracking and managementCustomizable workflowsHighly scalableOffers features like Kanban board and sprint management, making it suitable for agile methodology and scrum support offeringEasily integrates with other project management tools
Similar tools Slack, Microsoft Teams, Discord
Remote team Communication Easily integrates with other tools like Slack and TeamsDaily syncs without disrupting workflowsCan run standups and retros easily, making your team members agileAllows for remote team collaboration and continuous updates on projects.
Google Meet
Similar toolsZoom, Skype, TeamViewer
Video Conferencing Free for an unlimited number of virtual meetings with up to 100 participants.Can be integrated with email, Google Calendar, and even AI notetakersAdjustable layouts and compatible with different devices like laptops and phones.

Establish a Clear and Transparent Communication Protocol

After getting the right communication tools for your team, you should clearly outline and define your remote communication standards.

A communication protocol shows your team members how, when, and where to communicate. It keeps everyone on the same page, reduces misunderstandings, and boosts overall productivity.

Your team members should know which channels to turn to find key resources and help from their managers.

Let’s break down some tips on creating and maintaining an efficient communication routine for your remote team:

  • Be relatable and human in your interactions for authenticity.
  • Define clear expectations for response times, availability, and meeting schedules that accommodate different time zones.
  • Balance care and boundaries—show support while encouraging personal space and independence.
  • Showcase your company values with your communication
  • Use clear and simple language and avoid complex jargon that could be misinterpreted.
  • Keep everyone on the same page by regularly updating your team on important information.
  • Create a note or share a document with communication protocol to serve as a reference point and show your team members on your company’s standard communication procedures.

Pro tip: Maintain a steady, predictable communication rhythm. When your team knows when and how they’ll receive updates and messages, they are more certain and get a sense of stability.

Keep Your Virtual Meetings Short

A Webex study shows that 93% of remote workers who experience video meeting fatigue spent more than 2 hours each day in video meetings.

With 49% of remote workers reporting digital fatigue, you need to strike a working balance between the number of weekly video calls, their length, and value. 

Meeting fatigue is a feeling of physical and mental exhaustion, with an inability to separate work from free time.

To solve this fatigue and boost productivity, find a healthy balance between real-time communication and asynchronous communication.

For example, you can embrace daily standups, which are 5 to 10 minutes long. Daily standup meetings are like a daily scrum that keeps your team on the same page and ensures nothing is left out for too long.

Adopt Regular One-on-Ones

With remote work, it’s easy for people to feel isolated. Regular check-ins between individual team members allow them to speak candidly and openly about issues in their work or within a team.

With a structured agenda, one-on-one meetings provide project timeline updates, feedback, challenges, and concerns. They encourage open and honest two-way communication and avoid disengagement within your team.

One-on-one virtual meetings make your team members feel heard, valued, and supported.

Here are some ideas to make your individual check-ins better —especially if you have a large remote team:

  • Create a structured cadence (bi-weekly or monthly) to avoid overwhelming schedules.
  • Prioritize active listening to create a safe space for your team to share their thoughts and concerns.
  • Use video conferencing to build a more personal connection.
  • Define your meeting agendas prior and balance project updates, feedback exchanges, and well-being checks.

Create an Effective Onboarding Strategy for Your Remote Team

Communication and team engagement start from day one. With a well-structured onboarding process, you introduce each new team member to your company’s culture and form realistic expectations.

The onboarding process sets the communication tone, style, and preferred channels of communication.

To begin with, ensure your new employee email contains all the resources a new hire requires. Besides the warm welcome and congratulations, the email should include key details like time zone considerations, IT tools and equipment, and communication guidelines.

Part of your company’s first-day agenda should be to showcase your internal brand voice and company culture to every new hire.

To effectively integrate new team members smoothly into your remote team, tailor your onboarding program to the remote work context and have clear objectives. Your objectives may include introducing your channels of communication, fostering a collaborative culture, or ensuring new employees feel. 

Work out Loud

Also known as working in the open, it means making the progress of your work observable to others. Working out loud promotes transparency, team collaboration, and communication.

In a physical office setup, you can easily see and appraise what your team is working on at any given time, but remote teams don’t enjoy these benefits by default.

Here are some tips you can encourage your team to share their work progress:

  • Use collaborative tools, Geekbot, and or other messaging apps to ensure communication is open and accessible to everyone.
  • Use project management tools to track work progress and task allocation and update project timeline status.
  • Start off the week together with a quick check-in to keep everyone aligned on tasks and objectives.
  • Encourage your team members to share their progress in your regular standup meetings.
  • Develop a standard documentation hygiene and use file-sharing tools like Google Drive,  iCloud, and Bitbucket to document important information, decisions, and project updates.
  • Encourage feedback and suggestions on the shared drafts, designs, code, or any work in progress where necessary.

Introduce Fun Non-work Activities to Grow Personal Connections

Just like in a traditional office, you’re more likely to communicate with colleagues to whom you relate to at a personal level.

Team building activities, whether you’re working remotely or in a physical office, remain one of the most effective methods for strengthening relationships and building trust among team members.

To strengthen remote team communication, consider introducing activities that your team can engage in outside of the usual work setting. The activities create a space for your remote team to develop deeper connections and a greater understanding of each other’s perspectives and personalities.

And, team building activities don’t have to be elaborate and time-consuming. They can range from regular virtual quiz nights, video happy hour, or retrospective games.

As you add some non-work activities, focus on creating a comfortable space where team members can speak openly and improve the overall team dynamic.

Keep Your Teams Engaged With Effective Communication

Remote work gives companies the opportunity to expand their talent pool and tap into the best skills and expertise in their industry from diverse places.

But, managing large teams comes with challenges like communication barriers, decreased collaboration, and difficulty in monitoring. Team members can easily feel disconnected, especially when varying time zones make synchronous interactions challenging.

With the right kind of project management software, you’ll effectively allocate tasks, track resources, and monitor work progress using features like Gantt charts and dashboards.

You also need an efficient asynchronous communication tool like Geekbot.  

Geekbot is a comprehensive internal communication tool that allows you to automate recurring tasks, run workflows for daily standup meetings, and update posts on Slack or MS Teams channels. You can also use the tool to run anonymous surveys and get insights on how your remote team feels about their work or the changes you implement.

Start your Geekbot free trial now and improve your remote team communication.

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