Five Indispensable Virtual Communication Rules Every Team Must Follow

by Vartika Kashyap CMO

 “Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.”- Aaron Goldman

A few months back, who would have thought that we would have to work from home day in and day out for an infinite period. 

However, life can be unpredictable at times, and the human race, especially working professionals from various industries, has realized it in the form of the dreaded global pandemic i.e. Covid-19. 

The continued rise of remote work across the globe has made teams of all sizes resort to virtual communication tools to keep in touch with each other daily. “Video conferencing statistics and studies on remote work in 2019 show that the global remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005.

However, this change has brought with it some challenges. For even the most seasoned managers, it has been a formidable challenge to manage a team whose members are dispersed across states, countries, or even continents. 

Although in this tech-savvy age, communication has gone beyond phone calls and texting, making collaboration within scattered teams easy, how the remote teams communicate to each other still has a major impact on productivity. So, the question that needs to be answer is - 

How Do You Make Virtual Communication Work In Your Favor?

Well, virtual communication is more than a two-way talk. Since you’re no more within walking distance of your team members, you rely solely on communication to convey your plans as well as listen to the feedback of others. 

With a plethora of virtual communication tools, like Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack, etc., available in the market, it’s more about which mode of communication you choose that meets your organization’s requirements.  

For example, using a video conferencing tool for daily morning meetings, online chat for instant messaging, phone calls for discussions, and emails for official communication. As a manager, you have to lay down a set of rules for the team that defines what tools to use when for communication. 

Let’s take a look at how you can make your intra-team virtual communication more clear, concise, and productive using this advice: 

  1. Communicate Regularly

Regular communication is the key to managing remote teams successfully. No more watercooler conversations, tea-breaks, and in-person meetings. The mode of communication shifts to emails, video calls, phone calls, online chat, online discussions. 

The first step you need to take as a team manager is that you should create a communication schedule for your teams that should be followed earnestly. 

Set a time to get together via the chosen mode of communication. Daily morning video meetings are one of the most effective communication rules that are followed by a large number of teams across the globe. 

95% of professionals consider face to face communication vital for long term business. It also improves team collaboration and physical gestures of individuals give vital clues to managers about their attitude and personal well-being of the individuals 

You can also set time for non-work conservation once in a day so that employees can relax and have some fun via online group chat. However, refrain from over-communicating with your team. 

Once you’ve set communication guidelines, make sure these are followed by every member of your team. In urgent situations, make it known to your team that you’ll be available on the phone, skype, or text. 

  1. Keep It Professional 

With remote work, you do not need to get up early and dress to reach your office. You enjoy a certain degree of flexibility, which means you can dress casually, and not even take a shower. Even though you don’t have to be in a suit everyday, attending video conferences in sleepwear does not speak highly of your professionalism. 

Clothing that you wear can have a big impact on your productivity. Matthias Nowak, marketing director of FFW, a Drupal agency based in Europe, advises - “Wear your normal office attire for video calls and dress up for client calls”. 

Other than putting on decent clothing, here is what you can do to make your video calls with team members or clients more effective: 

  • Neutral colored walls can make video calls more productive. 

  • Attend calls in a quiet place, away from noises of kids, pets, and vehicular traffic

  • Use high-speed internet connection for better clarity 

  • Do not make exaggerated physical gestures, sit at one place in an upright posture and carry a gentle smile on your face

  • Mute your side of the call when you’re not speaking

  • Don’t look at your phone and don’t eat

  • Speak at your normal volume

In other words, while attending video calls with team members or clients, keep your conduct as professional as possible while keeping away distractions. 

  1. Stay Organized 

When managing remote teams, keeping everything organized matters a lot. Keep all your files and documents organized in a single location, so these are easily accessible to your team members. If you have a conference call, ask one of your team members to jot down action steps and send them as notes at the end of the meeting. 

Using a feature-rich remote collaboration tools for virtual teams, like Asana, ProofHub, Project Manager, or Basecamp can be of great value. The fact is you can’t rely solely on virtual communication tools to improve team collaboration and simplify project management. You need a comprehensive solution to manage all aspects of remote work. 

From online proofing, creating and organizing notes, assigning tasks, tracking projects, tracking time, and grant access levels, you can do all this and more when you use a top-rated project management system alongside your chosen virtual communication tool.  

  1. Schedule Virtual Fun Time 

A little fun time is a key to team building, especially during remote work when team members are physically separated from each other for a long time. Moreover, some fun and humor also go a long way in relieving stress. 

It’s important to encourage personal conversations, be it before your meeting starts in the morning or through one of the communication tools you use. As a manager, you may even find that if you step aside and give employees a personalized place where they can interact freely, it can work out to be even better for their overall mood. 

“We take a few minutes out of our daily schedule for watercooler chat online every day,” says Mark Webster, co-founder of Authority Hacker. “I don’t mind if our employees get distracted for five to ten minutes to discuss something non-work related. After all, this is exactly what would happen in an office, so why not here?” 

You can create a separate chat group just for a non-work-related chat on WhatsApp, Facebook, or even on your communication platform for your team members to hang out and chat. 

  1. Be Empathic; Remember We All Are Humans 

Organizations that have no prior experience of remote work easily outnumber those that are not doing it for the first time. If your company is new to remote work, you and the senior management has to understand that there will inevitably be a learning curve, especially if some of your employees are not tech-savvy. 

They are likely to face some problems and transition from in-office work to remote work might not be as smooth and hassle-free as you expected. However, one way to deal patiently with this learning curve is to show empathy for all your employees. 

We all are humans and we make mistakes; this is the part of the learning process. Encourage them and make them feel supported during the transition phase. Make them know that you’re available whenever they have questions or concerns. 

These are stressful times, and practicing an open door policy can go a long way in diffusing the tension. 

In The Final Analysis 

Navigating how to work with a remote workforce has its fair share of challenges and hiccups along the way, especially for team managers and members who have never worked remotely before

However, swift and smooth virtual communication flow is the reliable answer to solving these dilemmas and improving team collaboration to get productive results. If you and your team follow these tips while communicating virtually, the results would be more than satisfactory

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About Vartika Kashyap Innovator   CMO

21 connections, 0 recommendations, 62 honor points.
Joined APSense since, April 9th, 2018, From Chandigarh, India.

Created on Aug 17th 2020 07:22. Viewed 881 times.


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