You have likely read and heard that you should over-communicate when working remotely.
Over-communication is a terrible recommendation for the remote workplace.
Communication has to be thought through, deliberate and timely.
Taking time and flow from others is similar to stealing valuable time and energy.
Deliberate communication is far more important and far better advice.
A quick update is rarely quick if the update is not thought through and concise.
Communicate often but be more deliberate.
Think communicate often vs over communicate. Clarity over having to work through the confusion.
Create milestones where you will need to communicate.
Understand who needs the update, when and how you will deliver it.
Channels Are Important
Communication takes time for both parties, the receiver often has to decode what the sender means, you will be stuck in slack or teams for much longer than you need to be.
Understand what channels and delivery methods are going to work most efficiently for you and your business. Every business ultimately works differently.
Not everyone is built for video updates, however, adding audio over a spreadsheet or a document (presentation etc), allows for a richer experience and less need real-time conversations.
Connect The Dots
Communication is supposed to connect important dots – connect the dots on projects, campaigns and performance.
If you would like to update on personal situations or would like some help, don’t be put off – choose who can help.
It is important to understand that grabbing a few minutes to discuss remotely tends to be harder and more time consuming than quickly in person.
Create a set of principles you and your colleagues will follow. What channels work, what times work, what your expectations are.
Communication principles will enable everyone to follow the same rules on the same tools.
Understanding how, when & to take the opportunity to communicate is harder remotely but can be worked out. Grabbing someone coming out of a meeting, returning to their desk, bumping into them in the hallway or kitchen doesn’t really happen, there are ways to help with this, by adding statuses on internal chat tools, enabling calendar views and having open rooms where you pop in for virtual HQ chats.
It is also important to know having your own time for your own thoughts and deep work is important, keeping those around you updated will be important, a reminder or blocking time out will work.
Internal Comms Battle
On many occasions, internal comms is often harder than external comms. Internal comms has to answer many more questions. Internal FAQ’s or project hubs will help improve this and keep everyone updated simply. There are plenty of tools available to help with this.
Create a decision document or centralised document to have a timeline of updates, if you miss one update or miss a link in the chain, the wheels should not come off.
Use spreadsheets, words, pictures and record video explainers were required.
Tools like mmhmm, loom, canva & even instagram all make it free or low cost and possible to create explainers. You can also create this style of internal update on Macs or your smart phone.
Five Quick Fire Tips
- Secret no-one wants to offer up: Save time for you, colleagues, your team &/or your boss, this feels obvious but time remotely is priceless
- Have communication hubs, have internal wiki’s, shared knowledge centres you keep up to date. This will reduce quick questions and long email threads
- Always question: Can I remove meetings and write a concise update or update the project overview and send a link instead?
- Consider the RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed) model of updates
- Can you use BLUF? BLUF is a military communications short for bottom line up front, it is essentially communicating with the most important details first, with clear tone and a clearer ask.