The popularity of remote teams is increasing rapidly. Due to the CoronaVirus, everyone is forced to work from home, and therefore at this time, most of the teams are remote teams.
When we think about this, there would have been so many talented people whom your company must have rejected just due to the fact that they wanted to work as a freelancer or from home. Remotely working was considered a Taboo in many places and now it is the new normal.
Almost 80% of the organizations worldwide started working remotely as a result of the Pandemic. As a result, this changed the way we worked. As this is the new way of working, no one is perfect in this and the main problem that we face now is communication.
At offices, we would just get up and go to the person to ask them something, but now we are dependent on communication tools. Managing remote teams is a hard task and therefore many people find that there are some communication gaps or the communication is ineffective.
As a result, your team will not be able to reach the target on time and there will be many problems. Communication is at the center of teamwork and without proper communication, you cannot excerpt proper work. Therefore if you are not able to reach your goals on time or at all., the first thing that you should check is if your remote teams communication is effective or not.
To make this process simple for you, here are some signs that signify that your remote teams communication is ineffective:
1. Your Team has too many meetings:
The meeting is a good way to connect. As you have a video call, it feels like you are back in your office and you can work as you used to work at your office, But there is a downside too. Have you ever been in a meeting one after another? Then you will understand the pain.
As there are so many participants, the meeting can be lengthy and boring. Many times, there are group meetings in which many users have no role, yet as they are team meetings, they have to be there as they are a part of the team and therefore this is nothing about a waste of their time.
Having too many meetings is a prime example that your communication is ineffective. If it would have been effective, there would have been no need for so many meetings.
You should avoid having many meetings and meetings should be held only if they are necessary.
Instead of having weekly team meetings, you should have monthly team meetings. Although you should use communication tools to address them every day, Emails should be used to transfer information or thought of the day or any other regular thing that you used to do in your office.
If there is no need for a person in the meeting, you should mention in the invite that this is an optional meeting.
2. You never thought about body language:
When you have video meetings, does everyone have their camera on?
When we have real physical meetings, we can see each other, how we react, if someone is interested or not, and many other things. But if the camera of even one person is off, how do you know that they are engaged in the meeting and if they are even listening or not, or this is just a leisure activity for them.
Having meetings is nothing but just a waste of time. Instead, you should have effective meetings. Why is someone’s camera off?
When the camera is on, you can look at how the person is looking and reacting. If they are actively participating or not. Being in the meeting is not enough, they should be mentally present.
3. Inactive Participation:
As mentioned above, there are many members who do not participate in the meeting and are just there for the sake of the meeting. How do you think this is an effective scenario?
If only a few people are speaking and taking part in the meeting and others are just silent observers, this shows that there is a big problem. This shows that some people are just not comfortable speaking in the meeting.
If people do not speak, it is not communication and this is regarded as just listening. You do not want that, if this is the case that you want, you should not have a meeting and you should just type what you wish to say and you should simply send it to everyone.
But if this is a proper meeting, then everyone should speak and they should contribute to the same.
You should also consider that some people are introverts and therefore they may not speak unless they are pushed, and therefore you should make sure that everyone participates and speaks in the meeting.
4. There is no communication throughout the day:
As you are working as a team, it is essential that the members communicate every day. Video call is not what I mean. There are various ways of communicating.
The members should talk more to their team members to establish trust and to create bonding. This helps them in effective collaboration in project execution. This also makes it easier for them to reach out to each other for any help, and this will quickly resolve all the problems. Otherwise, they will first report the problem to the management and they will tell him/her to reach this fellow worker, therefore this stage is avoided.
When they communicate, they become comfortable with each other. You can also use automated check-in that is a feature of various project management tools. This will trigger a message at a specified time to all the team members and therefore they can all reply to the same at that place only. This will help you in communicating every day.
5. Emails are complicated:
Communication is done when one person says something and another person listens, but there’s one more important thing and that is the other person should understand what the first person is trying to say.
When you send an email, you should make sure that you do not complicate the message in the email and that it is clearly understandable. If the message is somewhat complicated, you should do a video meeting to make things clear.
Likewise, if the message is too simple and easily understandable, you should avoid video call and you should just email them the same thing. Therefore, choose the right channel so that your communication is always clear and effective.
6. Lack of Agenda or Meeting Structure:
Why is a meeting held?
A meeting is planned to fulfill some Agenda. Without an agenda, there is no point in hosting a meeting. Likewise, the agenda should be important to host a meeting, or else the agenda is not so important, it should be avoided or should be passed on by a simple message.
Every perfect project is done after a proper planning and after creating the project baseline. In the same way, a meeting should have a structure or else it won’t be productive. You can also try having an informal chat before stating the meeting to help the members in self-regulating.
The best practice is to send the agenda along with the meeting invite so that everyone can prepare their points.
7. Not using “Work with us” Document:
“Work with us” is a document that is prepared by every member and it contains the details of members like their work habits, expectations, and even interests.
This document helps you and your team to learn about all other members. If you know someone, it will be easy to talk to them. You should share this document among your team to let them understand each other.
Understanding each other builds trust and therefore the team will feel psychologically safe.Instead of trying to understand people on the basis of nothing, this can help you and your team in understanding each other in a better way.
8. Norms of communication are not clear:
Have you ever stressed if you should send a message to someone or call? Do you get late replies or your phone is not answered?
This shows that you have not set communication norms. Norms means the working hours of every person and the break time that they get. Who will be available on which day. The lunch break, evening coffee break, everything should be well defined. This way, no one will ever miss any call or message.
Moreover, if someone replies 5 minutes late and was not able to reply at instance, you should never get hyped up.
9. Managers redo the work:
If the task that you give to your members is completed and submitted by them, yet after that, you find yourself redoing the task or doing some changes, this can be a sign that your communication is not effective.
When you assign a task, the task should be totally clear and after that, there should be no need of redoing it or making chances. If the task is something that needs finalization, then it is ok, otherwise this is not.
The task should be very clear so that you get the perfect results.
According to exam42, 99% of remote workers want to continue working remotely after the pandemic threat subsides. So even if you think that this is just a temporary thing, you should reconsider your thoughts. Moreover no one knows when the vaccine will come and therefore for an unforeseen future, remote working is the only option we have. Look at all the signs of ineffective communication and take corrective actions to make your communication effective and in-turn increase your team’s productivity.
Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that’s helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who’s doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team’s productivity.