Communication

Communication
  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability

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Make Time To Connect

Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.

One way to do that is to try to give everyone the same day off, give people a “theme” for an activity of their choosing on that day, and find a way for the team to share their adventures. This could be during a team call or a shared photo library.

Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

Learning about someone takes time and effort. But it also helps you as a team connect on a deeper level. One of the best ways to do this is with a game called Conspiracy Santa, a version of Secret Santa in which the team works together to pick the perfect gift:
  • Set a budget for presents and a date for your ‘gift-opening party’
  • An email thread goes out to everyone except the receiver of the gift
  • Everyone replies about what they know about this person and then proposes gift ideas.
  • Agree on a gift (which the company will purchase)
  • Get together over video chat on the day of the ‘party’ to open gifts and talk about them.

Weekly video check-ins or catch-ups are fantastic ways to create a sense of community and belongingness:

  • Start with a welcome and an agenda. Update everyone and set the tone by chatting a few minutes.
  • Celebrate accomplishments. Let people know about exciting news and changes.
  • Give a high-level update on the progress of company-wide goals.
  • Give each team a chance to share major updates, concerns, or questions.
  • Do a Q&A session, real-time or with anonymous forms ahead of time for sensitive topics.
  • At the end of the call, make groups of people who may not normally connect and let them talk more personally.
  • Remote workers often feel lonely without in-person connection and that can impact their abilities and productivity.
  • It takes more effort to bond with people you only interact virtually
  • Human beings need social and face-to-face interaction to build trust and understanding.
  • Remote working brings more instances of miscommunication due to the lack of physical feedback.
Psychological Safety

Research indicates that successful teams foster “psychological safety”. This is a culture characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, where people are comfortable being themselves.

Teams with psychological safety are more creative. They’re more trusting. They’re more innovative. And most of all, they’re more connected. 

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... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust. And trust the people you hire;
  • Hire people who cand write: communication is one of the most important parts of a remote team - good writers are critical to a team's success.
  • Hire people who are ok without a social workplace.

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IDEAS

Remember Hanlon's Razor

Hanlon's razor refers to the idea that we should always assume ignorance before malice. This is especially important in situations where you're missing context.

If you're communicating via text with co-workers who are multiple time zones away, try to always assume ignorance before malice if you have a misunderstanding.

Regular Small Talk

These few weekly half-hours small talk make work more enjoyable. Communication barriers are lowered and channels smoothened.

Mutual reliance, understanding, and coordination increase. Slowing down and making social time helps people be better teammates.

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