July 23, 2020

What is Remote Communication?

Anshika Awasthi

“When I retire, I’m going to travel the world” is a common dream, but why wait for retirement? If seeing the world is the ultimate passion, one shouldn’t wait until old age to pursue a dream. And if you’re working remotely, you can’t use the “but I have a job” excuse to defer living.

Creative work that can be done remotely generally only requires a computer and an Internet connection and a well organised remote communication.

What is Remote Communication

Remote communication is imparting or exchange of information independent of their location with the help of digital channels such as email, videoconferencing, texting etc. that allows people to communicate and collaborate effectively as a team.

It is also known as virtual communication. It is a standard way of communication in virtual workplaces or remote work. Companies require deliberate and active approach to stay connected and make things work while working from home collectively as a team.

Remote Communication Channels

Communication is the lifeblood of remote work. There are different ways of communication such as written, verbal, non-verbal, and visual. This makes it quintessential for us to choose the right communication channel in order to convey information effectively in a remote work setting. Various mediums to transmit and receive this information is referred as remote communication channel.

Various remote communication channels include:

  • Videoconferencing
  • Emails
  • Chats and messaging
  • Cloud computing

Remote vs Face-to-face Communication

Face-to-face also referred as office communication is optimised for synchronous communication. it is ideal for immediate interaction in real time in an office setup. Employee, employers and other multiple people discussing agendas in meeting. Everyone is available for the meeting adding and sharing real time thoughts. Asynchronous communication allows spontaneous availability which might not always necessarily result in complete transmission of information from sender to receiver.

Remote workplace or virtual workplace is optimised for asynchronous communication. It is when people reach you out via digital medium like emails, slack, Workplace by Facebook or any other communication tool. It does not require freeing yourself for an urgent meeting. This is really helpful when you’re busy doing work without any external hindrance from employers. It allows you to focus and be more productive at your own pace.  

However, it’s not always clear which communication channel is the most appropriate. In case of complex conversation or decision making, synchronous communication is preferred regardless of remote or office setup. Whereas, it is not justifiable to call or follow up every hour in between working hours.

Note: Texting and video calling are now becoming a part of synchronous communication as people tend to answer them soon after receiving notification. Hence, meetings should be fixed and scheduled via email well before. This is also called professionalism.

Remote Communication Tips  

  • Use more visual communication
  • Invest in collaborative software
  • Set deadlines and expectations
  • State point to point written text
  • Present concepts and ideas visually
  • Regular team check-ins
  • Buy high speed internet connection
  • Avoid micromanagement
  • Virtual HR activities
  • Complete work over working hours
  • Trust your colleagues

Challenges

Different Time Zones

Time zones are tricky to understand. For example, there are two remote workers that are 12 hours apart. When its 8am in place A its 8pm in place B. this causes problems issues like – When A gets to work at 8am, B is already on the verge to wrap up. It’s even more challenging because there’s no proper feedbacks when parties are not on same page altogether.

Accountability issues

There are managers who still approach remote work with skepticism, asking questions like “How can I trust that my employees are being productive?” it all boils down to trust and accountability. One of the biggest challenge is building trust and establishing framework of accountability while communicating remotely.

Micromanagement

Micromanagement does not work in office so why to inflict it upon people working from home? Monitoring and accessing every step of business process while avoiding delegations of decisions always hamper work motivation. Requests for unnecessary overly detailed reports, detailed performance feedback, exhibiting narcissistic tendencies thereby results in workplaces working in denial without actual scope of growth.

More Screen Time

Remote workers tend to work more on screen. Meetings, discussions mean more screen time for video calling without any break. Even for breaks working in home allows you to interact with family without much scope for any fun spree. This schedule of spending whole day in front of a screen can result to stress, anxiety, weal eyesight, & other many more problems.

Mental Health

According to a buffer survey, 20 percent of remote worker said the struggled with loneliness, and another 20 percent said it was communicating and collaborating with others. Micro management and narcissistic approach, keeping tab son employees all the time can be stressful giving birth to mental health issues like depression, loneliness etc. Companies like TCS have opened helpline services for their employees providing counselling sessions to employees in need.  

Other  

  • Security issues – Unauthorized individual can effectively get to remote signals.
  • Remote systems are helpless to impedance so radio signals, radiation and any other comparative sort of impedance can cause a remote arrange to breakdown.

Benefits

  • Remote communication provides flexibility of working anytime and from anywhere.
  • Information is transmitted at a much higher speed in a remote setup for example, clouding computing.
  • Communicative tools save time via automation, customisable arrangement of data and files, easy sharing and easy to use accessibility.
  • You don’t require to be presentable during meetings. A simple upper body outfit works in remote video conferencing.
  • Less office distraction, more meaningful communication with teams.
  • Focused and clear communication can be established remotely, whereas in office you first need to search the concerned person in order to communicate.

Bottom line

Individual conversations with teams, leaders, colleagues, communication has always been a bane and a magical solution to several unrelated problems. But only when communicated in the right manner. We all seem to understand the struggle which comes from remote communication. With virtual workplace, digital nomads, freelancing jobs on the rise, remote communication should be practised in an effective way.

About the author

Competitive, real; loves to keep working for what it wants. An extrovert who lives by her own ideas and methods.


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