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How communication changes when we work remotely

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Culture & process
How communication changes when we work remotely

One might think that working remotely is not a big deal, we are just doing the same job as before, but we are at home. It might seem like that in the first weeks but give no extra tools to a remote team and you will start having rumblings after a few weeks. Some will miss the social aspect and become unmotivated, others will miss the peer pressure and the company culture will start diluting. Therefore, it is important to think how you will adapt, as a company to the remote environment.

…it is important to think how you will adapt, as a company to the remote environment.

There are many actions you can take, probably one of my favorites for being one that is very efficient, can take many forms and calls for individuals’ responsibility is to adopt supercommunication. What do I mean by super communication?

Communicate better

  • More clear: short clear sentences. Keep it direct and concise.
  • Warmer: we are miles away from each other. Always start with a greeting, make the other person feel like they are a human.
  • More proactive: are there solutions in your message? Propose some.
  • More assertive: find that sweet spot between aggressive and passive. Use sentences that are honest, direct and offer solutions.
  • Less misinterpretations: use sarcasm and satire only if you know that person really well.
  • More enthusiasm: a little extra enthusiasm will go a long way. Motivation suffers a lot when we are working remotely. Try to create some excitement, excitement generates more excitement. No need to be fake though. 😊

Try it!

I propose that next time you write a message. Specially if it is with feedback, you stop before sending it and read it with a new set of ears. How will the person perceive your message? Are you giving them enough guidance?

Step into that person’s shoes, will your message help them do a better job next time? Will they feel motivated to do a better job? Think of possible interpretations. Don’t tell me it is not your job to think about how people will take your message. If you have team members in charge, it is your job. Lead by example.

Only when you have checked that every sentence is clear and will bring something positive to the person, send it.

Use sentences that are honest, direct and offer solutions.

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Communicate more

  • Repeat: you might already have noticed this. Even if something seemed to be clear, it was documented and agreed, you had to repeat it. This is one of the downsides of remote work, you will need to repeat things. Be patient and kindly answer to the questions of your team and teammates. Be gentle and you will receive great results from your team.
  • Recognize the small things. Detachment from work and unmotivation are one of our biggest challenges. Send a quick message if somebody went the extra mile. If you manage a team, and verbal appreciation doesn’t come natural to you, set 5 minutes every day to think if you can acknowledge somebody’s work/effort that day and do so. Keep in mind that not all of us feel good with public recognition, in some cases you might want to do it in private.
  • Say “thank you” as often as you can and explain why you are thanking that person. You will boost motivation and make that person happy.

Watch out! “Super Communication” is not “Over Communication”. People’s job is not to read your messages or meet all day long. Use your project management tools as much as possible to minimize times for meetings and reduce emails.

Super communication is contagious! The better you communicate, the more you will help and inspire others and a restorative chain will start.

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