The past year has challenged teams of all kinds to work together in new ways across time and space. Signol has always been a global company with team members working on three continents, but the past year has challenged us to improve our remote working practices and look out for ways to make our company culture more flexible and inclusive. Good communication practices are essential to success in remote teams, so we’ve asked a few of our team members to share their top tips on effective communication.
Define procedures and guidelines for your team. Natalie LeRoy, Signol’s product manager, points out that “Language and body language set up parameters and boundaries for people [when communicating face-to-face] that don't exist” in remote communication. Because of this, it’s important to set up mechanisms and tools to ensure meetings and discussions are streamlined and efficient. Signol implements tools like Slack and ClickUp to create clarity and transparency.
Make time to speak to your colleagues every day, even if it’s just for five minutes. “It can be very grounding to have a human connection,” says Dan White, Signol’s CEO. “That kind of connection allows people to be grounded to the mission of the company and the objectives for that particular day or week.” Dan emphasises that it’s important to ensure all team members feel included and looked after, especially because remote working can eliminate much of the camaraderie of an office. “Small talk can be big talk,” he says.
Communicate in real time whenever possible. Jay Ramsay, Signol’s Product Lead, notes that “when you’re remote, it’s easy to deal asynchronously with everybody by sending emails,” but this doesn’t always generate the best results. Instead, Jay suggests making yourself accessible to your teammates and using voice or video communication for anything more than a quick question. When all team members are aware of their colleagues’ schedules and can reach them easily, it becomes easier to solve problems and make progress.
Be clear and detailed. Especially when explaining a problem or proposing new ideas, it’s important to be as explicit and concrete as possible. “If you’re explaining something, give as many examples and options as you can,” says Julian Vidal, Software Engineer at Signol. Julian explains that he always goes into meetings with a clear plan of how he will describe his work. Clarity is especially important for Julian because he is located in a different timezone than most of his colleagues, and a lack of clarity can waste time.
Create separation between your work life and your personal life. “Having downtime from work to refresh and focus on other things means you come back more productive,” says Divya Sukumar, Signol’s Behavioral Scientist. “Even though work and my personal life might have physically blended into the same environment, I’m really strict about taking my lunch time off, and I try to maintain the same hours” each day. Making space to recharge and enjoy non-work-related activities helps Divya put her work at Signol into perspective and be a more engaged colleague and teammate.
These strategies have helped foster an inclusive and forward-thinking culture at Signol and allowed Signol’s team members to the most of remote work. Even as some workers begin to return to their offices in the coming months, the lessons of effective communication in remote teams will continue to be relevant.
Get a demonstration
Signol is a software platform that draws on insights from behavioral economics to encourage employees to make more efficient decisions. Signol provides personalized feedback through multiple communication channels, as well as data analysis for managers. In aviation, Signol aims to use behavioral "nudges" and incentives to reduce pollution and fuel waste and cut operating costs.