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How to improve remote team communication?

Cubo writersOct 10, 2022

Long before the pandemic made it a necessity, the trend toward remote work has been adopted by organizations. Covid-19 just helped to accelerate the trend. And one thing is certain now - Remote work is here to stay.  

However, successfully managing a remote team is not as straightforward as one might think. It’s not only about setting up a few zoom meetings, it goes deeper than that. It’s about eliminating the challenges and inflexibility of a traditional management workflow. If you happen to work in such a team, then you know that along with many benefits, one of the biggest challenges is remote team communication.

In fact, 1 in 3 companies has lost a customer due to internal communication issues and a further 30% have missed important deadlines. At some point or another, we have all been confronted with the uneasiness of contacting a colleague because we do not really know what he or she is up to. It feels odd. The physical distance makes them seem unapproachable. Now, you’re just behind a screen wondering if you’re disturbing.

A woman in a black long sleeve shirt sitting on a chair workingAlthough to some it may not be classified as an issue, it certainly hinders teamwork and workflow. This is what makes a team’s performance go from excellent to stagnant, and from stagnant to decline. When your team understands how to communicate effectively, they will accomplish the tasks more promptly. And being able to do so remotely is grueling but invaluable. Those who thrive in such times are those who can adapt, adjust and acclimate to the avalanche of obstacles confronted to them.

Communication will be critical in the digital space of 2022 in order to maintain a cohesive and effective team. Here are some pointers on how to improve team communication in this sort of setting:

  • Make sure everyone is using the same software

  • Define a set of communication ground rules

  • Set a timetable for regular check-ins.

Now, while the future-of-work paradigm shift is accelerating, how can the world of virtual offices maximize your team’s communication and value interactions? Let’s dive right in.

Shift to a remote work culture

Remote team culture values and promotes communication, collaboration, and trust. Work culture is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that make up a workspace's typical atmosphere. Creating a work culture is important to build long-term relationships with colleagues, strengthen bonds, build trust, and enhance communication.

But now think, in the blink of an eye, your office went full-time remote. What would you miss the most? The people. Shifting to a full online workspace creates a barrier for colleagues to form connections. No more impromptu gym sessions, no more quick chit-chats in the elevator, no more gatherings for after-work happy hour. Just you in your kitchen and your reflection on the shiny door of your fridge. Making you more prone to feel loneliness (the second biggest struggle with working remotely).

To avoid being caught up in this spiral, instill the mindset of remote work culture in the same spirit of traditional work culture. Even if you plan to return to a full onsite work mode in the near future in this digital-work era, reinforcing your remote work culture is a big win. Period.

So, how to grow a positive company culture with your remote team? Having a set of values can determine the direction your work culture takes. Once you have your set of values, communicate your culture. By sharing the same values, you create a bond - an unconditional feeling of connection with your co-workers. This bond is the key to better communication and hence leads to the success of a team, despite the distance. With Cubo, you can experience hidden opportunities to create a better remote work culture. Cubo’s virtual office connects your team with its unique integrated platform with all aspects of the office functioning from any location, you get instant visibility of your colleague’s status, 1-on-1 conversations made quick and easy, the magic of the meeting hub, chitchats in the social lounge. Remember, feeling connected with your team has nothing to do with space, but instead rests on shared values, common priorities, and interests.

The right tool(s) at your fingertips

A girl having video-chat online on laptopVirtual communication tools for instant collaboration.

Employees need to be able to communicate effectively and functionally with each other. Utilizing those communication tools and software available is a foundation for making remote work successful and communication productive. Cubo’s mission is to empower businesses with an optimal virtual office. The Meeting Hub is the perfect place for meetings (scheduled or on-the-go) and screen sharing. Tapchat allows for instant video communication, more intimacy, and quick conversations. You can instant message any colleagues online - keep track of what everyone’s up to. It definitely brings back the feeling of a team and keeps everyone motivated and on the same page. An all-around platform for remote teams to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Make space for 1-on-1 communication

Cubo-tool demonstrating the Tapchat feature

Tapchat- Instant communication

1-on-1 sessions are an important part of a successful continuous feedback program. They give the 2 concerned parties uninterrupted time to discuss projects, examine performance, or other business or personal issues. Most leaders agree that 1-on-1 communication is hugely beneficial. But it is not just about checking up on their current assignments or updates on their workload. It is about getting to know your colleague on a more personal basis. It is about spontaneous and genuine conversation.

Take 5-10 minutes to Tapchat 2-3 remote colleagues per week. Show genuine interest in their day-to-day life, ask how they are doing. Have a heartfelt conversation, especially through this challenging pandemic time. Special tips for leaders: Thank your employees for their commitment to their work and contribution to the team. Close the conversation with some words of encouragement and remind them about the company’s vision.

On Cubo's virtual office, Tapchat is the perfect tool for 1-on-1 conversation as it is easy and user-friendly (double-click on your colleague’s portrait and get instantly connected through video call). If you make space for one-on-one communication, you create a support system and feel that your colleagues have someone to turn to.

Encourage asynchronous communication

Cubo banner showing "Grow your team visibility" caption.Breaking down the barriers of remote teamwork.

In a traditional work office, communication was a mixture of meetings (synchronous communication) and emails/letters/memos (asynchronous communication). But most of the time, this led to misinformation. With a distributed remote team, everything is online. The overuse of videoconferencing can be dreadful, just think of a 2-hour zoom call (hint: zoom fatigue!). It is proven that in this case, asynchronous communication can be a good form of interaction. Thanks to modern technology, the work environment is accelerating faster now than ever before, making asynchronous communication more accessible. It can be in the form of video conferences, recorded videos, themed-virtual spaces, and conversation chats. An optimal platform like Cubo allows colleagues to be easily reachable and accessible on one platform, making it easy to communicate with your team.

Value virtual team-building activities

To ease workspace communication, every company shifting to a hybrid model (blend of remote and in-person) should replace the lack of human interactions with channels for non-work-related conversations. This might sound contradictory, but it’s not. It is important to maintain the essence of team building. Every company knows that having a team working well together is essential to accomplish goals. Some may think it is very challenging and impractical to implement team-building activities remotely.

While it may feel unusual, Cubo’s virtual office accommodates such practices with the Social Lounge, an audio-only open mic room where you and your colleagues can sit in and converse as much or as little as you like. It is an opportunity for water cooler conversations - no set agenda, no host, no meeting time, just a chance to casually talk with the team and get rid of the never-ending loneliness that comes with working remotely. Now with the Social Lounge, carve out time to bond as a team. You can create book clubs, learn a new language class or be the toastmaster!

Virtual team-building activities

Online video conferenceAll these things are possible, you just need to think out of the box. This will provide opportunities for the remote team to connect. It means they are not just co-workers but also friends. As a result, work communication becomes much smoother.

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication - Mike Kryzewski

‍Communication is fundamental. It is of paramount importance to any business. And since working from home has not made it easier for any team, the 5 quality tips provided above will help you and your team to maximize remote communication and interactions. With all organizational facilities at your fingertips, it overcomes complexities inherent to remote communication.

You and your team will be able to stay connected and productive no matter where you are across the globe if you follow these recommendations! So be ready for change and adapt to it, and start conquering the world of virtual workspace with Cubo!