Remote Work

How to have quality interactions

So, your team has started working hybrid (or remote working, for that matter). Perhaps some team members are remote working, others from the office. As workforces have become more distributed, managing communications between team members and keeping everyone engaged has been challenging. This begs the question: How can you enhance the quality of interactions within your remote teams? In this article, we’ll touch on some ways in which you can use communication and collaboration tools to ensure that everyone’s connected and able to collaborate, regardless of location.

Make team building a remote working priority

Now that so many of us are hybrid or remote working, we don’t always see each other every day. Team building is becoming crucial for strengthening distributed teams. One way to foster team building is by making space for more personal conversations within the workday. Work messaging platforms that allow sub-chats for particular topics are excellent for generating conversations that extend beyond work-focused discussions. Chats that aren’t focused solely on work encourage your team to build stronger bonds and connections. This will help collaboration, job satisfaction and productivity in the long run.

Taking the time to learn about each other and celebrate our interests goes a long way for establishing engaged teams that are happy and comfortable working together. Don’t be afraid to engage in some more informal discussions – after all, we’re humans, not robots.

Keep remote working teams up-to-date

Sometimes team members working from home can feel like they’re missing vital developments that would be discussed in the office. You can avoid this and make those working from home feel more included in team updates by using asynchronous collaboration platforms to document information. Examples of such tools include Jira and Notion.

Asynchronous communication and collaboration tools give employees access to a variety of information. This can include the progress of projects, deadlines, company/team news, goals, Christmas party planning, meeting notes, basically whatever information is essential for your company! Giving team members working from home access to company information and projects inspires more input and interactions from them. This is because they can leave comments, updates and valuable feedback. Not only can remote workers contribute to the company’s development, but they can also do it on their own time and avoid disrupting their productivity.

Establish fast and effective remote work communication channels

Asynchronous communication makes it so that we don’t have to respond right away and engage in real-time dialogue. Instead, we can respond at any time and in any place

Asynchronous communication can be text or voice-based. This includes emails, threads/forums on workplace communication platforms and voice messaging. Typically emails and messaging threads are great for sending copied text to multiple recipients or sharing links to external sources. They can also be used for providing updates. 

Voice messaging thrives when you’d like to send more personal messages that convey tone. Tone creates more personal messages because you can clearly express your emotions and personality. Voice messages are also perfect for quickly recording and sending in the moment ideas that you don’t have enough time to write out as a text message.

Asynchronous communication is vital for increasing interactions within remote and hybrid working teams. It gets communication done quickly and allows teams to talk at any moment without having to spend time in a video conference. And with voice messages, you don’t even have to sacrifice the personality and tone conveyed in most synchronous communication.

Don't rely too heavily on real-time communication for remote working

Synchronous communication, such as video conferencing and instant messaging, is communication that takes place in real-time. Although real-time communication is essential to the workplace, these channels are often overused. 

Of course, video meetings have their place. They’re helpful for discussing important matters in-depth, gaining quick feedback and allowing us to engage in personal dialogue with facial expression. They’re also valuable for checking in and establishing bonds with coworkers one-on-one. 

Yet, they are often overused because people assume that they’re a direct substitute for being physically present in the office. It’s important not to rely too heavily on synchronous communication methods since they are time-consuming can sometimes wander off-topic. For effective communication overall, it’s best to have a healthy split between asynchronous and synchronous communication. This makes sure that teams don’t have to spend their entire day in video meetings.

So how exactly do we gain this balance while allowing ourselves adequate time to focus? Enter live video meetings and notification free periods.

Carve out more focus time when working remote

It’s no secret that notifications and video meetings are distracting. They interrupt our work and break our concentration. In some cases, we even struggle to remain concentrated and fully engaged during video calls while talking to our colleagues from behind a screen. 

Because of this, it may just be best to have periods during the day when you avoid them altogether. Having a designated time period where notifications are silenced and video meetings are put on hold can be a great opportunity to gain back some valuable focus time and dedicate your full attention to important tasks.

Try voice messaging for remote working instead

We might be biased here, but we chose to build a hybrid asynchronous communication tool at VoiceLine because voice has a particularly powerful impact on remote collaboration. A recent study comparing the effectiveness of text and video meetings found that participants felt calmer and more emotionally stable when they could hear the conversation partner’s voice. This is because tone can convey the current emotions of the sender. Furthermore, sometimes it’s just more convenient to read a message in your own time rather than have a video call. 

This brings us to why we decided on asynchronous communication- or more specifically, an asynchronous tool that combines the power of text and voice. It gives workers more flexibility in managing their schedules if they do not have time to participate in real-time communications. Anyone receiving a VoiceLine can choose either to listen to it directly or read the text transcription, depending on where they are and their preferences. This (as well as not needing to type) makes sending and receiving a VoiceLine a pleasant experience, regardless of whether you’re on the go, in the office or working from home. This is one of the core reasons why VoiceLine is beneficial for remote and hybrid teams.

The reason we chose voice messaging is simple – it allows you to inject personality and tone into your communication. This means conveying your feelings clearly and personally and avoiding miscommunication. Miscommunication can often occur with other forms of asynchronous communication (like emails, for instance). 

Furthermore, voice messaging and other asynchronous communication methods can be responded to in the moment or saved for later. This makes them a flexible medium for collaboration. There’s really no need to schedule a video meeting and spend the whole day live on camera! A voice message can get straight to the point and save you valuable focus time during your home office days.

Take Away

Remote and hybrid teams want to feel included, even if they may not be physically present in the office. Increasing quality interactions for those who work from home can ensure that teams are engaged, happy and comfortable. To do this, we need to reconsider the prominent role of synchronous communication in the workplace. One way to achieve this is to use asynchronous communication to continuously involve all team members in different avenues of dialogue.

You might think that all this communication couldn’t be possible without reduced focus time – but this isn’t usually the case! Introducing notification and video meeting free periods can reduce distractions and decrease the time we spend in video calls. Which ultimately frees up time for other tasks! You can thank us later.

Are you ready to work better?

If you believe in the new way of working, join us in making it happen by signing up for the waitlist and being the first to know when you can start using VoiceLine