3 Communication Examples that Strong Remote Teams Always Implement
These real-world examples will show you how to strengthen your remote team’s communication to ensure fewer breakdowns and greater productivity the easy way.
Whether your team has been forced to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic or you’re looking to transition your entire organization to full-time remote work, there are a few key communication issues you’ll want to address first.
Fail to tackle these upfront, and they’ll quickly snowball into bigger hiccups, or worse, cause a rift between you and your team.
Fortunately, we’ll help you avoid those problems by sharing our top three remote teams communication examples in this guide. Emulate these, and you’ll create a stronger, more connected team in no time.
3 Remote Teams Communication Examples to Follow
These real-world examples each solve a potential communication issue before it can sabotage your team’s productivity or progress. On top of understanding why they work so well, you’ll also find ways to best implement each strategy with your remote teams.
Example #1: Swap Synchronous Communication for an Asynchronous Communication Style
The first tip, which happens to be one of the most important, is to get your team to ditch a synchronous style of communication in favor of asynchronous communication. What’s the difference?
Teams following a synchronous communication style reach out throughout the day and expect responses ASAP. This is the most common form of communication in the business world, but it’s not nearly as effective for remote teams.
These constant interruptions break your team’s concentration and disrupt their flow, which may tank their productivity levels and cause missed deadlines.
With asynchronous communication, however, you’ll leave your team messages with all the pertinent details and allow them to reply with an answer whenever they have a free moment or break in concentration.
You won’t get a response right away, but you’ll improve productivity and make it easier for team members to communicate across different time zones.
You can learn more about asynchronous communication, including the pros and cons of using it, by visiting this guide when you’re done here.
Let’s take a look at an example of how to put this into practice:
Next time you reach out to your team members in Slack, Skype, or via project management software such as Trello, don’t leave a vague message like, Hey! Can you touch base with me when you have a second?
Do this, and you’ll waste both your time and theirs as you wait for a response. To leave a message the asynchronous way:
Mention all the details you possibly can in your message so they can get started right away. Give your team everything they need to solve a problem, complete a task, etc. without needing further instructions from you. This might also include providing supplemental material, such as project outlines, spreadsheets, email chains, and more.
Example #2: Always Respond to Messages Within an Agreed-Upon Timeframe
In your remote work policy, you may want to set acknowledgment guidelines so you and your team members receive answers to asynchronous messages without waiting 24-48 hours for a response.
If you and your remote team members agree to acknowledge messages within a certain timeframe, everyone knows when to expect a reply and trusts that messages aren’t being lost in the shuffle.
This doesn’t mean you should expect a response immediately -- again, that doesn’t jive with an asynchronous communication style -- and it also doesn’t mean that person has to address the issue quickly.
Rather, team members just need to confirm that they saw the message at some point within this agreed-upon time frame to let you or a project manager know it’s being handled.
Here’s a great example message you can use from the CEO of X-Team:
Using the above example, you could say, Hey! Can you update me today with how that project’s going?
Then, you’ll want to get your employees in the habit of following up with an answer similar to, Yep! I’ll get on that toward the end of my day today, so you should see the new details by morning (your time).
This provides concrete details, such as confirmation that they received the message, when they plan to get to the work, and when you can expect a deliverable in a single, timely response.
This is a fantastic example of using asynchronous communication to complete work and stay in touch when it’s most convenient and productive to do so.
Create a policy like this for your remote company, and give your team members this example so everyone is on the same page with what’s expected. You’ll have fewer communication issues and project hiccups later on.
Example #3: Save Difficult Conversations for Video Chats
Our final tip for how to strengthen your remote team’s communication is to know what should be discussed via online message versus over video chat.
This tip may seem like common sense, but it’s often overlooked in remote companies. And mistaking one for the other has the potential to cause massive rifts between team members as a result.
As a general rule of thumb, you should think of providing feedback and having difficult conversations like you would in-person at a traditional office.
For example, if you want to leave general project feedback to your team, such as, “next time, please do XYZ,” you can probably drop that comment on a project management task. All employees assigned to that task will be able to refer back to this throughout current and future assignments.
However, if something was really done in error by a specific team member, you don’t want to leave a lengthy message on a task in front of everyone else. This isn’t just embarrassing, but your tone or comment could be taken the wrong way or misconstrued.
That’s why it’s better to have these conversations “face-to-face” like you would in a traditional office setting. Working remotely means you should hold these conversations via video chat.
Let’s put this tip into practice:
Reaching out to a remote team member can be unnerving for both parties involved. To lessen the blow and the anxiety that comes with this, schedule a time to chat and go over the project.
Once the meeting starts, you can go into detail about what did/didn’t work and what you’d like to see differently next time, similar to a project post-mortem.
Remember to mention both positive and negative feedback so your team members don’t leave the meeting feeling too defeated. That doesn’t mean you should compliment them just to do so. Rather, keep it simple by acknowledging their hard work and effort and outlining what you’d like to see improved upon for next time.
Since this requires much more of a discussion than a simple comment on a task, it’s best done over video chat, as mentioned earlier. Plus, if you have to deliver criticism, your facial cues and reassuring voice will sound more empathetic and encouraging than a chilly, impersonal comment or Slack message.
Ready to Put These Remote Teams Communication Examples Into Practice?
While these remote team communication examples seem simple enough, they’re going to make a big difference in how your team operates moving forward.
Follow them, and you’ll help improve your remote team’s productivity, strengthen communication, and streamline operations. These wins all contribute to building a better team that feels appreciated.
The key is to put these examples into practice right away. Make sure everyone understands what’s expected of them and why you’re choosing to do things this way. This transparency will help them learn where you’re coming from and why these moves are beneficial for everyone involved.
For more tips on building a dynamic remote team, check out the following guides next:
← Back to Blog