Efficient team communication is the prerequisite for collaboration, which in turn ensures high productivity and innovative thinking. In other words, team communication is at the core of a competitive business.
However, the way teams communicate has profoundly changed. Long gone are the days of casual office talks and counting on everyone to be on-site every day 9 to 5. Face to face communication is being replaced by a myriad of communication channels that cater to hybrid work models and digital workplaces.
How can you ensure that your team communicates most effectively in such an environment?
➡️ Read on to learn the best team communication strategies and tools. Moreover, find out which consequences poor communication can have for businesses to understand the importance of getting it right.
4 must-haves of remote team communication
Remote team communication can be challenging. Nevertheless, hybrid work is a reality for many – and the future for the vast majority of people.
Since team communication and collaboration are essential for business success, every organization should try to mitigate the challenges they bring. Here are the must-have aspects of remote team communication.
➡️ Before you continue, learn how Rocket.Chat collaborates remotely, with teams across five continents!
Cybersecurity and compliance
First things first! Remote team communication should be safe. However, 53% of remote employees admit they use consumer communication apps like WhatsApp for work. The rising costs of cybersecurity are prompting many businesses, especially the ones that deal with sensitive customer information, to use more robust communication solutions.
For example, many are looking into Slack open source alternatives. The open source apps like Rocket.Chat provide a much safer platform for employees to communicate, without the fear of exposing or leaking confidential information.
Find out more about the topic of safe team communication:
As much as effective team collaboration calls for frequent communication, there can also be too much of it.
Research shows that the time spent in collaborative activities has increased by 50% or more in recent years. In some organizations, people spend up to 80% of their time in meetings, on the phone and answering emails – leaving little time for all the work they have to do on their own.
The most disturbing statistic of all? 67% of employees believe that spending too much time in meetings and on calls prevents them from being productive.
The so-called collaborative overload can be avoided by utilizing asynchronous communication as well as video conferencing. Combining these two allows employees to focus on their work better, and team communication to be more efficient.
➡️ Find out what are some of the best team collaboration software to spark creativity, innovation, and communication in your company.
Team communication should not only be about work. It is not all about the exchange of information. In fact, research shows that team performance is best among teams that communicate in informal situations.
Besides team building activities, talking about non-work related topics can improve your team’s overall communication effectiveness. However, you should separate work and non-work topics into different channels.
All your favourite apps in one place
Research shows that an average employee uses 9.4 apps for daily work. Team communication and collaboration depend on many solutions, so it’s best to keep them all connected to avoid app fatigue.
For example, sometimes different teams within a single workplace use different communication solutions – some may use Slack, while others prefer MS Teams. Rocket.Chat can bring all these under a single platform, thus making communication more efficient and streamlined.
➡️ See what are the most popular apps that you can add to Rocket.Chat platform!
10 remote team communication strategies
Working remotely or hybridly has many advantages – but it also poses challenges to team communication. This is exactly why 20% of workers say that difficulties with communication and collaboration are their biggest struggle when it comes to remote work.
Moreover, lack of effective communication leads to extending deadlines, less quality work, and more stress for everybody involved. It is no surprise that 86% of employees and executives believe that lack of collaboration and ineffective communication lead to workplace failures.
So, how can you improve team communication – regardless of where team members work from?
Get the right tools
You probably know how hard it is to get any work done without the proper tools for it. Team communication and collaboration relies on apps that are:
Easy to use
Flexible and scalable
Accessible from anywhere and any device
Compliant with highest security standards.
Without these components, employees will be less inclined to use the apps, resulting in less communication and collaboration.
Moreover, it would be best if your communication platform allows you to communicate in multiple ways – providing safe chat, calls, and video conferencing solutions.
Lead by example
If you are a leader or manager, you are responsible for setting up the stage for your team’s communication and collaboration patterns. Since only 1 in 3 employees say that their leaders communicate efficiently, it is no wonder that 75% of workers believe effective communication is the most important leadership trait.
Set the rules
Setting the rules is necessary for effective team collaboration and communication. It is good to have a communication handbook that team members can always access.
Define which channels you use, how to approach resolving conflicts, when team meetings are being held and more.
Make time for team bonding
There is a legit business reason for encouraging social interaction between team members. Why? First, it improves company culture. Second, social interaction outside of the workplace is responsible for 50% of the positive changes in communication patterns between coworkers.
Active listening is one of the most important communication skills. Improving team communication is much more effective if you are listening – pausing, reflecting, and rephrasing what is being said in order to ensure everybody is on the same page. It is no wonder that it’s one of most sought-after sales skills!
Diversify communication channels
When working remotely, using only one communication channel can get tedious. For example, 38% of employees report feeling exhausted and 30% stressed after a full week of virtual meetings.
Moreover, imagine communicating only by email. It would probably be much harder to align the whole team, right? Therefore, work on improving team communication by diversifying communication channels.
Don’t always talk to your team members in a group. Although team dynamics are #1 priority, people should feel comfortable to voice their opinions in a more private setting as well. Improving team communication relies on developing interpersonal relationships, too.
Give and ask for feedback
The best way to improve team communication – and performance – is to encourage open feedback. Normalizing giving praise and providing constructive feedback is crucial to team dynamics. Moreover, feedback should go in all directions – meaning that managers should be open to it, too.
However, remember that the optimal ratio of positive to negative feedback is 5 to 1 if you want your team to excel!
Set up a virtual water cooler
As mentioned before, non-work communication is important for improving working teams’ communication. This is why it is good to have a virtual water cooler or a chatbot that creates random interactions between employees even when working remotely.
Our own chatbot here at Rocket.Chat is called Koko. It asks us to answer random questions or participate in random one-on-one calls, which always creates fun and casual conversations you would experience in an on-site setting.
This is also a great way to build your company culture!
The cost of poor team communication
Why is it important to excel at team communication in the first place? The truth is that it can legitimately hurt your business. Since we can expect more hybrid and remote work environments, improving team communication is essential to build trust among team members and enhance collaboration.
Yes, poor team communication can be costly – here are some specific examples.
When teams don’t communicate as well as they could, they will collaborate less, and outputs of their collaborations will be of lesser quality.
On the other hand, collaborative businesses are 70% more likely to innovate than non-collaborative ones. Moreover, collaboration leads to more engagement, less employee turnover, and higher profits.
Poor employee engagement and performance
The way employees communicate shapes their performance and results. As 28% of workers believe, poor communication is the biggest reason why projects fail.
In the long run, ineffective communication can lead to decreased employee engagement. Employees will simply avoid communicating with their peers if they feel it doesn’t lead anywhere, which will also affect the quality of projects.
When teams don’t communicate effectively, team members get frustrated. According to research, ineffective communication causes stress for 80% of employees.
When team communication is ineffective, it creates additional workload for team members. They lose time finding the right information, and there is a high probability of duplicating tasks.
Lack of innovation
One of the greatest advantages of digital workplaces is enabling employees to collaborate effectively. However, when team communication is inadequate due to different reasons, employees will less likely engage in brainstorming sessions and similar activities.
In sum, poor team communication can lead to decreased innovation – and innovation is one of the most important elements in business success.
Ready to own your communication?
By now, you should be convinced that effective team communication is at the core of every business success! However, it is of utmost importance to ensure that your workers can communicate and collaborate in a safe way.
Moreover, if you are dealing with sensitive customer data, cybersecurity and data protection are probably on the top of your priority list.
Check out why Rocket.Chat is one of the most secure messaging and collaboration platforms on the market and get in touch with our team for a smooth & safe collaboration experience.