florio.dev

Tips for effective communication in distributed workplaces

October 31, 2021

Communicating over a chat application instead of talking to someone in person is quite different. When I joined my current company as a full-remote worker, I understood that my communication skills needed refinement to adapt to the new working setting. Here I want to share a few tips I learned that contributed to making my communication more effective. Probably you read some of this in several other articles out there, but maybe something will be new and worth trying. 🙂

communication

Don’t just say “Hello! 👋”

Please avoid the “Hello! 👋” message. It is simply a waste of time, and the receiver won’t be happy to wait for another message to know what you want. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to be polite, but that you should keep it in one message: “Hello! Can you help me with $task?“. You are not a server, no need for an ACK to establish a connection. 😉

Be straightforward on requests.

On the same line, please ask what you want/need without sugarcoating it. Provide just enough information to make your request understandable, but please avoid unnecessary details. Clearly state what you want, so you will be given a proper answer without going back and forth for no reason.

But informative on answers.

When people ask you something, don’t be cheap on words. Provide some context on why/how you are giving such an answer. One of the most important things in a distributed workplace is information sharing. When you provide a good context in your response, you help by sharing some information and avoiding silos.

Carefully choose words and use emojis.

Please remember that a text chat misses some fundamental aspects of verbal communication: facial expression and tone of voice. It means that you should be a bit more careful when choosing your words. The usage of emojis can help convey the right tone to your sentence! 😄😄😄

Use channels/groups for direct communication.

Try to avoid Direct Messages unless strictly needed. When asking something to a teammate, use your team channel/group and mention/tag the person. It is helpful in several ways:

  • Someone else can benefit from the answer.
  • It contributes to information sharing.
  • It can trigger interesting discussions inside the team.

Keep DMs only for “personal” stuff that won’t be interesting for the rest of the team.

Have fun!

Sometimes it is just good to have a chat about topics that are not work-related. Being remote, we cannot meet at the coffee machine and chat about the latest episode of a TV Show. Don’t be afraid to send a message to a co-worker to share something funny or ask about how they spent their weekend. Communication is async, so they will get back to you when they are not busy. No matter the medium, it is always good to establish bonds with other people! 🥳

Conclusion

I guess these tips are no news for most readers. Anyway, I hope they will help you communicate with your remote teammates in the best way. Remote work is here to stay, so better be prepared! 🚀

photo by unsplash-logoVolodymyr Hryshchenko


Powered by Luca Florio.
Computer Science PhD. Passionate about Distributed Systems.
Half-stack developer. Curious Learner. Krav Maga black belt.
Twitter | GitHub | LinkedIn | RSS