6 Communication Tips to Keep in Mind When You Work Remotely​

If you work remotely from home, you’re still part of a team. To continue to be a team player even when you work remotely, you need to make sure that you communicate well with everyone else on your team. You may need to prepare in a few ways that you may not think about when you work at the office. What follows are tips to help you make sure that your communication with your team remains top-notch even if you’re not physically there, among your team.

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Learn the specifics of what is expected from you

Before you can start working from home, you need to know what exactly your manager’s expectations are for how to communicate about work. Will you be messaging, using email, video or the phone? How often do you keep your boss updated, and how often do you deliver work that you’ve completed? You need to obtain specific information to make sure that the transition to working remotely goes smoothly.

Set time aside to smooth out tech problems before the start of your workday

If internet problems and computer problems take up a part of your working day, it could make it hard for your colleagues or your boss to reach you. It can make everyone unhappy when you’re reachable. It’s a good idea to give yourself 15 minutes to set up your tech before you start each workday. If possible, you should arrange for an alternative phone number, and let your colleagues know how you can be reached if the regular methods of communication don’t work.

Prepare for your virtual meetings with your boss

When you work from home, you get fewer opportunities to communicate with your manager than you do when you work at the office. Not only is it important for you to get your manager to schedule regular, virtual one-on-ones with you, you should prepare for these meetings, as well. You should jot down notes for what you will talk to your boss about when you have these meetings. You may need to note down information about recent successes, questions that you have, and ideas that you need to propose. You should have these on the ready when your boss calls.

Be honest

Fifteen years ago, when people worked remotely, they stayed in touch with work using a service like AOL Instant Messenger. Often, people would log into their messenger bright and early in the morning, goof off for a couple of hours, and sit down to work much later. To colleagues, however, it would appear as if they were at work first thing in the morning.

These days, people who want to make it look like they are working may communicate with Slack and may use different tactics. They may, for instance, try to make it look like they are on their work computer, when they are really goofing off, instead. They may simply force Slack on their phones to type in lowercase letters to make it look like they are on their work computer. It isn’t a good idea to be dishonest when you’re allowed to work from home. You’re likely to get caught sooner or later and lose your remote work privileges.

Learn to write clearly and concisely

When you talk to people in person, you can use as many words as you want to explain what you need to say. When you work from home, you’ll need to do much of your communicating in writing. You will need to master the art of communicating clearly in as few words as possible so that you don’t spend your days typing out long messages, and your colleagues are never in doubt about what you are trying to say.

Don’t forget to stay in touch

Certainly, you need to take your responsibilities seriously and be extra diligent about meeting your deadlines when you work from home. It’s also important to maintain your work relationships, however. It won’t do to fall out of touch with your colleagues. Networking is just as important to the remote worker, as it is to the office worker. While you should be careful to not derail serious online discussions with chitchat, it’s important to make time for socializing, sometimes.

When you begin to work from home, understanding the right way to communicate with your manager and your colleagues can take getting used to. When you practice your writing skills, prepare for your meetings, and network with your colleagues, you lay the groundwork for advancing at work.