Six ways to improve communication for teams working remotely

16th March 2021 | 4 min read

In the last year, we’ve seen the way we work turned upside down. With the majority of people now working remotely, we’ve seen Microsoft Teams and Zoom replace meetings, pitches and training sessions, creating a whole new style of communication that we have quickly had to adopt. However, without the hustle and bustle of the office and face-to-face meetings, it’s understandably harder for teams to communicate remotely. In this article, we’ll give you our top six tips when it comes to improving communication in remote teams until we return to the office once more.

Shorter, more regular meetings

In the office, it’s normal to hold one main weekly meeting – often on a Monday morning. However, now we’re working remotely, it’s important to increase the number of check-ins to keep the team involved and engaged. Instead of one hour-long weekly meeting, try two or three shorter meetings throughout the week to keep track of the team’s process on different projects. Encourage all participants to turn their cameras on, and kick things off by taking it in turns to share a funny anecdote, or something interesting you’ve read in the news lately.

Use internal messaging software

Unfortunately, remote working tends to lead to an increase in emails, with many people complaining that emails have taken over their inbox. However, sending hundreds of emails every day is not an efficient way to communicate. Instead, look into using an internal messaging software to make communicating quicker and easier. Organise teams into separate groups and channels to keep workflow simple.

Try out new virtual tools

Endless Zoom calls can quickly get boring, especially if you’re looking at the same screen all day every day. Before working from home, workspaces like the contemporary office spaces in Camden used interactive whiteboards and ideation spaces to keep employees engaged – and there’s no reason why you can’t use these same tools and tricks remotely.

The next time you and your team need to come up with ideas for a project or a pitch, use a digital workspace like MURAL to spice it up – you can use colourful post-its, images and even hold a virtual voting session to pick the best ideas. Instead of the tedious wait while documents are emailed from one person to another, with these virtual tools everyone can collaborate in real-time, increasing communication.

Give employees regular breaks

We’re sure you’ve all heard the phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’, which refers to the feeling of tiredness, worry or stress caused by overuse of a virtual platform. To combat this, you need to recognise when virtual calls and meetings are running your team’s life and do something about it.

Instead of half-hour or hour-long meetings, book calls for 25 minutes or 45-50 minutes respectively – this gives participants a breathing space at the end of the call to relax, stretch their legs, or make a cup of tea before the next meeting. Employees will return to meetings feeling refreshed, and communication will improve as a result.

Regular temperature checks

Without seeing your team in person every day, it can be hard to know how they are feeling. Honesty is therefore key. To improve communication within your team, setting up a weekly temperature check can be useful. Each person rates how they are feeling on a scale of 1-10, or from a range of different emojis. Make these sessions fun and interactive by using a virtual tool – and you could even have an informal chat afterwards to strengthen your bond and blow off some steam. Remember that employees are human, so show empathy and compassion when needed – if it seems that someone is having a tough time, pick up the phone and call them.

Team building activities

Just because we’re no longer in the office, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with your team doing something fun. Virtual team building activities can be used to boost communication within the team. As well as work-related tasks, happy hours, team games, pub quizzes and bingo can all re-motivate the team and remind everyone how important it is to communicate – plus, having fun together means you’ll work better as a team.

We hope these tips for helping remote teams to communicate more effectively have given you some inspiration for your own team. To make sure remote communication is the best it can be, remember to check in regularly, encourage honesty, and above all, don’t forget to have fun with your team.