Remote Communication: 5 Best Practices to Try

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Once nothing more than a fantasy, but fast forward to 2020, remote work has become the new normal. Whether you prefer this way of working or not, it is here to stay. However, it does come with its own set of challenges. The managers need to come up with a way to keep the communication going with as little hiccups as possible. There’s also the cybersecurity element to it that calls for familiarizing oneself with the best practices.

In this guide, you will learn what it takes to get the ball rolling and overcome the challenges of the modern remote working environment:

1. Know That Project Management Tools Are Your Allies

Project managers have one task that is easy to comprehend, but often tough to execute – overseeing the other’s work and keeping track of everyone’s progress. The larger the team, the greater the challenge. Without project management tools, this would be an organizational nightmare. And since it’s hard to peek over someone’s shoulders if they’re miles away, relying on checking in and self-reporting will have to do. The great thing about these project management tools is that they’re easy to set up and work with once you get going. Depending on the tool you’re using, you can also set it to send you alerts if one of the tasks is due today or tomorrow. This is even more important if the tasks follow a hierarchical structure (in other words, if the execution of one depends on the completion of another).

2. Use Secure Video Conferencing Solutions

Not all video conferencing tools are made equal when it comes to security. Zoom happens to be one of the strongest choices in this regard. Whether out of habit, convenience, or other requirements, if you’re using a less secure one and want to make sure that no one is snooping in on your confidential work-related conversations, you should always use a VPN.

A NordVPN review should tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the benefits you can expect to get with one and also give you a great overview of its features. But the gist of it is that a VPN takes every single piece of data you exchange online and places it in an encrypted tunnel no one can pierce through. Not even your ISP.

3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

It’s much easier to stick to the objectives and goals if they are transparent, clear, and well-communicated. Not only should the project manager make an effort to paint the roadmap so everyone can stay on the same page, it’s also important to take the extra time to fill in the proverbial blanks.

In practice, this translates to being open to any questions a team member may have and answering them on time. At the same time, providing feedback regularly is another important aspect of this because it’s much easier this way to synchronize concepts and ideas instead of verbally outlining them.

4. Foster Professional and Productive Relationships

In a traditional brick & mortar office, maintaining a good working relationship is somewhat straightforward. Using a combination of assertiveness, professionalism, and a bit of open discussion, it’s easier to steer someone in the right direction while ensuring that everyone fulfills their end of the bargain by the company policies. In a digital environment, the underlying concepts stay the same, but the nuances will be different due to the lack of face-to-face contact.

A good approach is to greet everyone in the morning and check in on how they’re doing every once in a while. This way, a challenge or an obstacle can be overcome in the quickest manner possible because you’re creating an environment that encourages discussion. This also makes for a great opportunity to motivate your team members by cheering them on and providing feedback as needed.

5. Study up on Your Tools

Virtual conferencing solutions we mentioned earlier are just the tip of the iceberg, even though they’re a must-have tool in your overall arsenal. Not only are you going to need to have a reliable way to communicate, it’s also important to have a scheduling tool and document editing tool such as Google Docs, etc. Bonus points if it allows for real-time discussion via comments. It’s a good idea to have as many of these tools be accessible through a browser, so everyone can access them regardless of what kind of device they’re using. Otherwise, how will you coordinate the efforts contributed by Linux, Windows, Mac, and smart device users? It used to be that Microsoft Windows users were the most represented group, but now, Android seems to have taken the spotlight.

Conclusion

Good remote communication practices are what companies need to master if they want to keep remote workers in the loop and productive. Now is an excellent time to start refining that knowledge and making sure it serves you well in 2020 and beyond.

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