How to be a better remote team member – remote communication

If we work in a team there are many expectations that are laid on us. Some of them were never verbalized, yet they exist and are as valid as those listed in the job requirements. 

So if I have the technical skills, I’m self-organized, and I deliver – what other traits do I need to have to be an effective team member? And how can I show them while working from home?

  • Communication skills
  • Internal motivation
  • Positive attitude
  • Pro-activeness and willingness to take a lead over an initiative
  • Emotional Intelligence – Ability to understand the social context and act upon it

Remote communication skills and how to improve them?

Communication is everything while we are working in the team, especially that we still work mostly remotely. While in the office you could throw a stress ball at your colleague to get his attention, while being remote you need to either constantly chat or speak up on endless meetings. 

For what habits you would get an extra point:

While using chat:

  • Quick reaction on chat.

When you don’t reply for 5-10 minutes it seems like ages. It wasn’t that bad when we were working in the office, you could go out for a long lunch and no one mind because everyone saw your seat is empty. It’s somehow different when we work remotely. It may be because your team doesn’t know where you are and if you are taking a break. If you haven’t set the status on the chat that you’re off, the person who writes to you expects to receive a prompt reply and will be disappointed. – A tip: try to reply fast or use chat status to inform that you’re on your break or on a meeting and can’t reply. 

  •  React even if you can’t help.

While working remotely we lack ways to recognize if our voice is being heard. It’s ok if you are busy or you don’t know how to help. The person who calls out in need is waiting for any kind of reaction just to see that you are there, and you’ve seen the message. If you don’t know how to help, mention on the chat someone who may, that would be helpful itself. Or at least acknowledge that you’ve noticed the message. 

  •  Mind your words, it’s easy to not sound as intended. Especially if we need to use our second language at work.

While f2f you could share your good intention by your tone of voice or a smile, on the chat if you don’t use “the right words” you may easily sound impolite. Especially if you reply in a hurry. – A tip: use emoticons and read your reply twice. You can even explicitly type [groaner] when you’re kidding. Just in case your joke wasn’t funny 😉 

While on the meeting:

In our previous post, we’ve noted how to be more active during online meetings, it’s all valid.

There are other things worth knowing. What to avoid doing – the communication blockers. 

Not being there
Being “over”


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