How to communicate effectively when you work remotely: Let’s level up!

6 minutes
Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade

These days, remote work is becoming more and more popular and social networks are awash with funny video-call fails: family members appearing in the background, in various states of undress, sometimes crawling; cameras or microphones that should be turned off… I’m sure you’ve seen plenty!

As well as giving us something to laugh about, these kinds of videos are proof of one thing: remote work can bring about some very curious situations that would never happen in an in-person or on-site work context. There are a lot more distractions at home, and it can be difficult to maintain concentration and focus.

That’s why it’s also much more difficult to communicate successfully when you work remotely. Sometimes it’s a real challenge, right? Here are some tips, tools, and strategies for passing the challenge and unlocking the next level of remote work: effective communication. Engage with your team, clients, partner, or investors like never before.

Social distancing… and cost cutting!

More and more companies and organizations are now opting for remote work. According to the Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2021 study, around 70% of full time workers in the US worked remotely last year.

The percentage is much lower in other countries… for now. In Spain, for example, the percentage of people who worked remotely in 2021 was less than 12% according to data from Statista, although around 60% used a hybrid model.

It’s more than double the pre-pandemic figure, and it’s increasing all the time. If we go back to 2019, before the pandemic, the percentage of people working from home was under 5%.

By the way, did you know that remote work was not originally linked to social distancing? It is said that the founding father of this model of work is Jack Nilles, an engineer for NASA. The initial idea came about towards the end of the 70s, to save energy, reduce pollution, and avoid crowding and other transport-related issues.

The need to reduce costs, scarce resources, and pollution are all still prevalent issues today, which is why remote work is so attractive to many companies. Saving money? Yes please! And it also favors a good work-life balance, which can often be so difficult to achieve. In addition, technological evolution offers more and better solutions for working remotely. The world is changing, the way we work is changing, and communication needs to adapt to these changes

Remote work is not just ‘the same thing but at home’. It’s also not about suddenly starting to use a billion different tools. It’s a culture; a different way of doing things. Let’s look at some tools and resources for effective communication for ensuring that distance doesn’t pose a problem.

ilustracion genially

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Off-site external communication

It doesn’t matter if you’re sending a report to your team or a business proposal to a client: if you send a whopper PDF or a PowerPoint with 200 slides, the chances of it being read are slim to none.

Think about it: if in face-to-face meetings some people fall asleep or get distracted by their phones, imagine them at home. Or picture that client you’re explaining the wonders of your product to and you notice them glancing sideways at the clock or the door… what will happen when you’re not standing in front of them? Do you think they’ll thoroughly review your proposal? Unlikely.

It is a fact that the more we use technology, the more our attention span and concentration are reduced. Science has proven that reading on a screen reduces text comprehension, and not being able to underline or take notes also has a negative influence.

One way to overcome this challenge and get our message across is to turn it into an experience in which the person receiving the message can participate actively.

How? With interactive content that they can explore at their own pace. Add a visually appealing design and animations that capture attention and you’ll be that bit closer to achieving just that.

In Genially you can create great interactive content for clients, suppliers, partners, or investors. Interactivity and good design turn business proposals, training content, corporate guides, catalogs, job offers, and much more into content that surprises and engages the audience. You can even create videos!  

Here’s a selection of templates to create any corporate content you need: reports, proposals, dossiers… you name it!

8 best practices for internal communication when working remotely

At Genially we have always worked remotely, so we want to share some best practices that you can include in your effective remote communication plan to help maintain team cohesion, along with the tools we use to implement them.

  1. Good morning, first of all: Implement a greeting routine with the team; it’s actually easier than if you work face-to-face! Even if you don’t feel like smiling in the morning, you can still send an emoji. All you need is a chat app. At Genially we use Slack and find it super convenient.
  1. Daily, weekly, monthly… Meet virtually to stay in touch and discuss projects. Choose a platform and organize the meetings in a calendar. Google Meet and Google Calendar may suit your needs. But keep meetings as short as possible: the longer they are, the less productive they are.
  1. In the clouds: Cloud tools allow teams to share information in real time, and access it from anywhere with a connection. Google Workspace, Notion, or One Drive are good options.
  1. Make it pretty: Use spectacular visual content to support your communications. Genially is the tool for you! Presentations, reports, training resources, and any kind of corporate content can be improved immeasurably by adding interactivity and animation. You can also add multimedia content in any format to make your content even more attractive. Are you going to send it? Record your voice with an explanation of the content; it’s the perfect complement to the visual content and a very effective way to be ‘closer’ to the recipient. You can then download it however you want, even as an MP4 video!

See more resources for remote communication

  1. Internal newsletter: Create a channel for everyone to share news (personal or work-related) with the team and encourage everyone to collaborate: new additions, milestones achieved inside or outside work, photos… You can then compile all the news in a monthly or quarterly internal newsletter. Another thing your whole team will share! 
  1. Feedback questionnaires: To collect opinions and suggestions. When you work remotely, you can’t see the faces of the people on the team most of the time, and they’re not around to ask them what they think about this or that. It is essential to provide channels to collect feedback. They can be anonymous if you want, but make them fun! Typeform usually does the trick.
  1. Much more than work: Enable (and empower) people to share more than just information about work. Movies, series, music, meetups… This provides a space for people to have casual water-cooler chats as they would if they were working on-site. At Genially we also do team yoga online (okay, I admit I never go) and we have lots of different Slack channels for different topics of conversation.
  1. All together now: Find an opportunity for the team to get to know each other in person. No matter how much we apply all the best practices that exist to create a virtual team, nothing can replace the time shared in a physical environment. Organize face-to-face events and team building days on a regular basis. After they get to know each other, everything will flow better; you’ll notice the difference!

How do you manage remote communication in your company? Would you like to add a tool that you know and that works for you? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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