Improving Communication With Colleagues Working Remotely

Improving Communication With Colleagues Working Remotely
People have to work remotely because of the pandemic. The inability to meet your coworkers in person leads to miscommunication. And when a small mistake can snowball out of control and put certain work processes at risk, it is necessary to eliminate communication errors.

Thankfully, there are multiple ways to improve the situation. If you have been unhappy with how things were going in your workplace communication-wise, use the tips below.

Send Screenshots

Since you cannot show instructions by pointing the finger at them while your colleague is sitting or standing next to you, you will need to find a different way to get your message across.

Instead of explaining everything via texting or phone call, you should consider screenshotting certain parts and use visuals to make things easier. You can send images that have both visuals and texts, or grab text from image and send that instead of typing or reading it yourself.

Ask Follow-up Questions

Improving Communication With Colleagues Working Remotely
Follow-up questions should be something you ask even if you are not working remotely. However, since the odds of miscommunication are higher when you are not in the same room, it is more crucial to make things clear by asking extra questions.

If you are on a video call, keep in mind that reaching a supervisor who gave instructions remotely might not be that easy since they are not at your usual office. You cannot just go and talk to them in person. Sure, there is the option to make a phone call, but what if they turn it off or cannot answer because they are busy with something else?

The bottom line is that follow-up questions are necessary. Asking them when you need clarification is a good piece of advice. In fact, it is a good habit to have that can come in handy after you can return to the office because it will add extra to your communication repertoire.

Improve Your Writing Skills

If you send emails or text messages, make sure to avoid typos and other errors. In fact, you should work on improving your writing skills so that your words are easy to understand, even to those who might not be native English speakers.

Besides practicing on your own and reading more, double-check the messages you send for any typos like you would when creating a business email to a potential client. And even if you send a message with an error or two, most communication tools have built-in editing features that let you fix errors in the text that was already sent.

Consider Different Time Zones

Improving Communication With Colleagues Working Remotely
Like already mentioned, some of your coworkers might not be native English speakers, meaning that they likely live in a different time zone. If so, keep that in mind the next time you send a message and fail to receive a timely response.

Late noon or early evening for you might be the middle of the night or early morning for another person. Therefore, you should send your messages ahead of time or text a colleague when you know that they will be online.

Use Reliable Communication Tools

You need to have reliable and effective communication tools to have everyone on the same page. Sending emails is a thing of the past in a work environment. No, instead, businesses should use communication platforms that let employees send and receive messages instantly, make phone calls, video calls, and integrate various work tools.

In the early days, Skype was an example of such a communication platform, though it was not oriented for businesses but rather for personal needs. Besides, if you compare Skype to other options, it is lackluster, and the software has some issues.

So what are some decent work communication platforms? Well, for video calls, Zoom and TeamViewer are great, but they do not come with a full package.

Overall, Slack is probably the best communication tool for your work needs. It has an excellent tool integration, simple and intuitive UI, file sharing, voice and video calls, and other neat features.

As an alternative, you could also try Discord, which is free, though similar to Skype, it is not business-oriented like Slack is.

Find Out Communication Preferences

Improving Communication With Colleagues Working Remotely
There are different styles of communication, but there are also different communication preferences. When you are interacting with coworkers, remember that not everyone likes receiving phone calls. Instead, they would rather respond to an email or a text.

On the other hand, someone might not be the biggest fan of typing messages on their keyboard and would rather use their voice.

Adjusting to different communication styles creates an environment in which another person is more comfortable communicating because they can do so in the form they prefer. Having such comfort means fewer instances of miscommunication.
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