As collaborative work systems evolve, it can be tempting to believe that more advanced tools mean more effective communication, but studies have shown that performance depends more on how these technologies are used, not so much on the systems themselves.
Now that your workforce is likely more remote than it has ever been, you are probably looking to get the most out of this new situation. Below are a few tips on how you can enhance your virtual team’s communication and collaboration.
Pick the Right Tool for Each Task
People often lean towards selecting tech tools that seem easy or somehow familiar to them, but some collaboration systems are more suited to particular tasks than others. Picking the wrong tool for a task is one way to hamper a virtual team’s productivity.
Communication tools can vary in several different ways, including the richness of information and the possible degree of real-time interaction. Likewise, a typical remote team’s tasks differ in complexity. Therefore, when you are choosing a communication tool for a particular set of tasks, carefully think about your objectives. Text-based platforms like email are best when the goals are mostly one-way communication, such as for the sending of basic information. Interactive tools like Slack are more suited to intricate tasks like problem-solving and resolving various points of view. Steer clear of using email and text-based communication for potentially contentious issues.
In a nutshell, the more intricate or potentially contentious the task, the closer you ought to be to face-to-face communication.
Text-oriented tools can leave way too much open to interpretation. This opens the door to personal biases, damaging assumptions and even someone having a bad day — all of which can cause unhealthy conflict.
To keep negative influences from causing difficulties within your team, make certain that everyone prioritizes clarity in their communications. Everyone should review important messages before ‘hitting send’ just to ensure they have the proper tone. Encourage excessive positivity and even the use of emojis to avoid misunderstandings that can slip into conflict.
It also helps to stress essential details in a longer message, possibly by highlighting key parts that call for careful attention. Sometimes, it may be necessary to separate multiple requests into several emails just to distinguish each one for the sake of clarity.
Err on the Side of Too Much Communication
When staff members don’t communicate face to face, it boosts the chances of people losing touch and getting out of sync.
Your team can get over this challenge by making it a priority to keep everybody in the loop. Continue to keep regular communication with staff members and steer clear of lengthy silences. Actively share information and signal the receipt of a message that appears to be important, even if immediate action isn’t necessary. Ask for clarification before jumping to conclusions.
We Can Help You Have a More Effective Remote Team
At ZDA, we regularly help clients find talent for their remote teams. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company.