9 Ways to Improve Communication Skills as a Remote Worker
in Employment by Mark Andrew
You've likely heard this before: Strong communication skills are essential if you want success as a virtual employee.
Here are some tips to improve your communication skills.
Learn People’s Preferences
Perhaps your manager prefers email communication, but one of your colleagues prefers instant messaging. Another likes occasional video calls. Identify the person you are trying to communicate with and how they prefer it.
Use Different Methods to Communicate Different Ideas
Many communication platforms make it possible to communicate with distant coworkers. However, not all platforms meet the same needs.
Slack, for example, is a great instant messaging platform that allows you to send short messages and get a quick response. For longer messages with multiple attachments and when you have to wait for an answer, email is better than email. Video calls are great for large meetings or face-to-face interactions.
It doesn't matter how you communicate with others; proactivity is a great communication skill for remote workers. You can communicate with your boss by updating him on a project you are working on or letting colleagues know you will be away next week.
Improve Your Writing Skills
Even if you use video calls or phone calls frequently on a distributed team of employees, most of the interactions between your team members are likely to be written.
This allows you to reflect on what you want to say and how. It's possible to organize your thoughts, edit your communications and take as much time as necessary to form your answer. Be mindful of how your emails sound. Written communication can be taken out of context, so you need to be cautious not to appear too assertive or vague.
The Three C's
You can communicate with anyone, no matter what medium, if you keep the three Cs clear, consistent, and concise.
Clear communication is simple. Stick to the facts. Consistency allows people to know when and how you will communicate with them. It also lets them know what messages they'll be receiving (does it almost always involve instant messaging or email?). Concise communications are concise and get straight to the point quickly.
These three C's will help you stay on track when communicating with remote workers.
- Give the context.
- What are you looking for?
- If that's the case, what are you suggesting?
- You can find important information about the subject here.
The majority of your day will be occupied by work-related communications. It's important to allow for informal and casual communication. You can build a relationship and connection with your coworkers by not communicating about the job or the tasks. This can lead to improved team relations.
Ask your company to create a chat channel for your team. This can be used only for casual conversation. It will be easier to work together if you get to know one another better.
Respect Time Differences
You and your remote colleagues can work in many different places as part of a distributed team. You might be working in different time zones, too.
Pay attention to when your coworkers work and communicate with them accordingly. It may be necessary for you both to adjust your schedules, but this will make communication easier.
Remote workers might face difficulties due to the absence of face-to-face interaction. Although you can establish a rapport with your teammates and get to know them regardless of where they are located, it is possible to lose touch with them when the majority of your communications have been written or asynchronous.
Emails should not be filled with lightheartedness or sarcasm. Always assume the best intentions of the sender. If in doubt, spend as much time as necessary to clarify your understanding of what's being said.
Keep the same mindset in mind when you are sending out communications. Using emojis can help you convey your humor or silliness.
You Can Meet Offline
It is easy to form informal relationships with colleagues when you work in an office. If you work remotely, however, it is possible to communicate only with coworkers once a week via email or phone.
It's important to make time to get together with your coworkers whenever you can. This will allow you to have a good time and help them get to know each other beyond the 9-to-5. You can schedule virtual coffee breaks and virtual happy hours if you are unable to meet up in person after the pandemic. This will shift your attention from work and allow you to build relationships with your coworkers.
Improve Communication Skills
These tips will help you improve your remote communication skills. Over time, clarity and efficiency in your communication will lead to increased productivity, as well as helping you build relationships.