Many people work from different geographical locations and are apart from each other. People are connected to the Internet and have access to a communication network. People are using different means and mediums to communicate with each other either in a verbal or written form. In this modern world, a business culture has to be remote-first not only to access information but also to manage them properly.
What is remote and remote-first communication?
Communication may be familiar to all of us as we all know its components and types. So what is remote communication? Remote communication means communicating by telephone, Internet, or such other means. In such communication, people are not physically present in the same location and communicate with each other simultaneously. The communication may be over frequency, radio transmitter, or web-based. Remote-first communication means preferring radio tools where online collaboration is the default way of working. Preferring tools like Slack, Gmail, Hangouts, Google Drive, Google calendar, etc. is simply remote-first communication. For example, a meeting with staff face to face by google duo is remote communication.
What are the benefits of remote communication?
Communication is a key part of getting things done in an organization. Communication can bring a new interface to deal with problems and bring out a suitable solution. Here are some of the merits of remote communication.
1. Helps in defining the goal
Every organization has a team assigned to complete a task. The organization sets expectations from the remote workers as well as sets goals to complete in a specific time. Every team member will have a specific time to accomplish tasks that will define the goals to be set as expected.
2. Controlling and managing projects
Tasks are never-ending flow in an organization and managing these would be complex sometimes. The use of remote communication will help in regulating messages to all the team members which will help in advance planning. Since remote communication uses different communication and project management tools like Trello, Slack, Nuclino, etc. These tools help to manage the project easily and communicate with the remote team. Ultimately, this helps to minimize the chance of delays.
3. Helps in collaboration
Every remote worker will be using almost the same communicating tools since these tools are defined by the company. Things get confusing when communication breaks. So, using the same program will help in collaborating with the organization and workers. Remote teams themselves have a better understanding to handle these programs. Tools like Trello, Slack, Asana, etc will be great to collaborate and these tools also help to connect workers effortlessly.
4. Minimize the chance of interruptions
Working from a different location will not harm the project if everyone is connected to each other and has a crystal-clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. In the absence of communication and project management tools, the risk of disruption arises in workflow. The constant messages can interrupt a remote worker from working. Communicating with others remotely using these tools bring solution to set free from interruptions.
5. Updates team members about internal and external changes and about discussion
Remote-first communication helps in managing the loss of data and keeps every team member updated about the changes and discussions. It helps all the members to know about every conversation held recently between the organization, the clients, and the team. This helps in keeping every team members up-to-date.
Challenges and solutions to remote communication
In this ever-changing digitizing world, unexpected challenges emerge. Facing these challenges is fun sometimes but, in most cases these challenges are irritating. But, the use of remote communication tools help to connect every worker from different geographical locations. Challenges faced due to communication will be hard to digest but these challenges have alternative solutions too. In case of an emergency, working smartly to face problems would be great. Here are some of the challenges and solutions to remote communication.
1. Unavailability of team member
Unavailability of team members is one of the common problems in long-distance communication due to several reasons or not being in touch. The person may be unavailable at the required time. Due to the absence of a team member, communication between the team members will not be held properly. This rises difficulties and interruptions in the projects. As a result, the project deadline is missed.
The best solution would be to inform the member early for the upcoming events so that the person may be available at the given time. Scheduling the meeting time will help to avoid such problems. This will minimize the problem surely not completely but will give satisfying results. The meeting should be planned properly choosing the appropriate time that is suitable for everyone.
2. Technical errors
In remote-first communication, different technical problems may arise like fluctuate in electrical supplies, loss of Internet connection, etc which will bring additional problems. This may halt the ongoing work. Sometimes an important event may miss or may bring delay in the project.
In this case, a simple solution is to use communication devices such as mobile, telephone, etc to convey the message. As the company has to supply the Internet data and telephone facility to team members to create a stable connection with the team.
3. Unclarity in point or message
Sometimes, a message conveyed may be unclear or others may understand the message differently that brings huge problem in the project or business culture. Using short-term words and bulk of words will make the message unclear and could be understood differently by different people.
Using clear and simple text will be one solution. And In some cases, the message which is hard to convey could be illustrated differently using either images, videos, or verbally. Avoiding the use of jargon and unfamiliar terms will help to fix the issue of unclarity.
4. Unresponsiveness of team members
The biggest challenge of remote communication is being unresponsive. The team members see the message but might neglect the message thinking the message is unimportant. This will create a one-way communication process with no feedback to improve.
A system of compulsory feedback from every team member must be kept in a term. All the team members have to be alert on a daily basis and give information about their progress.
How remote-first communication can help your organization better?
As remote communication is widespread term and used by different offices and remote workers. This can bring a change in the organization slowly with increased production. Implementing remote-first communication in office culture brings many positive changes. And this could help the organization to do better in the future.
- Informs the team about the task to be done.
- It helps to identify and assess alternative actions.
- Helps in planning, organizing, and managing tasks.
- Manages and controls team members including their tasks.
- Keeps the team members alert and updated with every work.
How remote communication works?
Remote communication uses different communication tools to communicate with every team member. Remote communication works using different communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google duo, Skype, etc. Such tools help in smooth communication between the organization and the remote teams. Remote communication helps to avoid interrupting the team members during working time. Instead of interrupting the team members, one can leave a message to update the team members. Using different communication tools helps to communicate effectively.
The different examples can be the use of Skype for video conferencing, Slack for group messaging or personal messaging, etc.
When should your communication be remote-first?
Remote-first communication means communicating with people who are not physically present in the organization. Teams use different communication tools like Slack, Skype, Zoom, etc to communicate with fellow team members. When the organization hires remote workers, then the organization uses these tools to communicate with the remote workers. These tools are not only used when communicating with remote workers but also used when office workers work from home. Remote-first communication can be applied to any business. This helps to make the task simple and easy. So, remote-first communication is used when communicating with remote workers or communicating with workers working from home.
Is remote-first communication always written?
In a sense, remote means control over something. But this doesn’t mean to be only written communication. Some of the news or information will be great with emotions. At that time, the audio will come to use or visual method can be used to gain more information on current issues and tasks. As people using remote communication will be using written communication much more compared to audio but it doesn’t mean that they will have access to both sorts of communication.
Why communication should be remote-first?
Remote-first communication is trending in the modern world. It can create a platform to discuss a topic that is more important from different locations and also important for online collaboration using different tools. Remote-first communication can lower the chance of information loss. And this will surely save time while working with remote communication. Working has become easier since the introduction of new technologies. People can work on the same task while traveling to different places. The use of remote-first communication will keep other team members updated with the discussions from other members.
What skills are needed? How to keep a remote team organized?
Working with a remote team using remote communication will not be as easy as snapping a finger. A better understanding is needed. Every aspect must be handled effectively in order to ensure communication flow smoothly. Following the changing trends, remote communication is preferred by the business culture to update as well as to manage their tasks. Working remotely needs a little effort to understand how that works? So these may help out to build your knowledge and skills.
1. Illustration skills
Illustration skills include:
- Email writing
In today’s era, the email has spread rapidly like wildfire. It has become a reliable means to convey important messages and documents. Writing a proper and understandable email is important. Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, etc are commonly used mailing tools.
- Attachment of image
Image could be the proof of an event and memory of the past to clarify the term as its worth a thousand words. Images are descriptive forms to communicate. So, attachment of image will make the communication more attractive and will decode information visually. In Microsoft - the Snipping tool is best to relay information, for Linux - Shutter could be installed, and for Mac - Grab can be used.
2. Clear and concise to the point
Making others understand the point is a difficult task. But the task must be easy to understand and simple to explain and to the point. It is very important that the message sent by one should be clear to others so the given point becomes simple to understand.
3. Using task management software
Task will be the primary thing that every team must be aware of. A successful task will lead to better project completion. So, using task management software is best for project development. Different task management software could be used but make sure to use the same software by all the team members. There are a lot of task management software like Pivotal Tracker, Asana, Trello, etc. which could make projects much simpler.
4. Using team communication tools
Team communication is important as every task, problem, and other sorts of information regarding the business could be discussed easily. There are a bunch of tools and web-based software designed for communication like Proofhub, Slack, Hangouts, Facebook, etc which can do the job well.
5. Scheduling a universal time
Not every team member stays together, some may travel long distances for any official or personal work. Focusing on these team members or other workers from different geographical locations, a fixed time should be scheduled
Who really needs remote communication?
As already explained, communication is the primary key to exchange information and express feelings. Everyone needs communication either to handle projects or to share daily information. From business startups to professionals, remote communication will bring a simple interface to handle projects. And to discuss something important, remote communication will do the job.
Is remote communication done through high-end devices?
Remote communication is just simple as it is meant to communicate between two or more people from different locations. People can use their devices as a means of remote communication too. Any device connected to the internet and any device capable of using radiofrequency will work fine. Different devices like mobile phones, laptops, desktops, and smartwatch can be used to communicate remotely between team members.
Difference between remote and remote first communication?
These both seem similar to each other but, remote communication means the tools and remote first communication means using or giving priority to remote tools. Remote tools are widely used by different organizations and people across the world as a solution to communication. Remote-first communication has a greater advantage of updating the team about the organization.
Is remote-first communication the same as work from home?
Maintaining and running a remote team is not easy for regular office culture. Remote-first communication is an adaptation to create a fully online environment where online collaboration is preferred. Every little discussion and works are conducted online through the internet
As work from home policy is only a completion of tasks from home using the Internet but not every work is fully online.
What is needed to become a remote-first company?
Establishing a company as a remote-first company is not an easy task as it requires different approaches considering many more aspects and adjustments. Which are:
- Adjusting all of the processes
- Adjusting the communication
- Adjusting the management and the culture of an organization
- Collaboration tool
These adjustments will reflect the requirement to establish remote-first communication.
Is remote-first communication the future of the company?
Many companies are established as remote-first company. They have recognized the benefit of remote communication and the importance of remote-first communication in office culture.
Remote first communication is gaining popularity in modern days. This not only applies to startup but also to established business. A company can set up an online environment where all the discussions are done online and replace face to face discussions and conversation. This will make work fully remote.
These are the example of some companies whose cultures have grown up around remote work and have integrated it into the way things are done.
- Bluespark - Bluespark is an organization of innovative, intelligent, and passionate humans working to solve 21st-century problems.
- Close.io - Company offering lead management, calling, email automation, predictive dialers, and more.
- FineTune Learning - Provides a platform for assessing, evaluating, and strengthening complex skills with the qualitative learning platform.
- GitLab - It is a complete DevOps platform used by millions of organizations.
- MonetizeMore - MonetizeMore is an ad optimization company that specializes in dramatically increasing the ad revenue of large traffic websites from around the world.
- Zapier - Zapier provides an integration platform that allows to automate daily tasks that involve using two or more applications
These companies are established as remote-first company. As these companies have the easiest way to get out of spontaneous in-person conversations. For every company, every single piece is important and will be directly or indirectly helping the organization to grow.
Let me briefly restate the main point that remote communication is a tool for communication whereas remote-first communication is preferring these remote tools to get work done.
The inspirational quote of Steve jobs “If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” So, doing something interesting that you care will pull you, then why not to try remote communication on business culture.
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