This article about the remote communication problems is from Issue #4 of The Water Cooler newsletter designed to help you improve team communication & morale in less than 2 minutes. Click here to make sure you get this in your inbox every Monday.
The Remote Communication Challenge
Before March, our group of companies were office-first.
If you worked for Recess, Scalable, DigitalMarketer, etc…then you worked in Austin, TX because we’re in Austin, TX.
Then everything changed…
All non-essential companies had to transition from office-first to remote-first.
And 8 months in, it looks like most of these companies will remain remote and need to re-invent their internal policies and procedures.
The first thing that has to change is how we communicate.
If you’ve been struggling with communication, here are a few things we’ve implemented to improve communication.
Remote Communication Tip #1:
Use Slack primarily for check-ins and morale
Treat slack like when you drop by someone’s desk or when you’re chatting by the water cooler.
Don’t try to manage projects, share critical details, or anything else because you’ll inevitably be the person who says, “Did you see that? I slacked it to you!”
Remote Communication Tip #2:
Just jump on a Zoom (or pick up the phone)
It’s too easy for things to get lost in Slack and email. It’s even easier to mis-read how someone is saying something because there are no visual or tonal cues.
Text communication is easy to misinterpret and the fastest way to get to a solution is to hop on a call.
I know, calls stink, but this is a sure fire way to avoid any miscommunication, misinterpretations, and keep your message clear.
Remote Communication Tip #3:
Consistently send weekly company-wide newsletters
Every week our team receives an internal newsletter that shares:
- How the company is doing
- Any People & Culture updates
- Major announcements
- Opportunities for growth in learning
The newsletter follows a general theme and the author keeps the tone light with a goal to keep the company informed and connected.
If done right, your team will look forward to getting this each and every week.
Check out our Company Announcement Template here!
Remote Communication Tip #4:
Make project management tools mandatory
We all don’t have white boards at home and we definitely don’t have white boards that people walk by anymore! Relying on project management tools has been a productivity game changer.
These tools also reduce the number of unnecessary check-ins and emails. All team members know to check the tool before reaching out via email, Slack, or phone.
Remote Communication Tip #5:
Reduce company-wide all hands meetings
This one might sound counter intuitive but hear me out.
We realized the weekly company all hands wasn’t productive anymore and the newsletter was better at providing updates.
Company-wide all hands are now quarterly. This is our chance to celebrate the BIG wins and share how the company is performing.
Individual teams and business units have their own meeting schedules that work for them. For example, development teams have daily scrums, product and marketing teams meet weekly, etc..
We’ve done plenty of other things, but these are the top five that really improved our internal communication.
Don’t try to implement these things all at once!
Pick something you like, try it out, and let me know how it goes!