Three ways to improve communication on remote teams

Businesses cite communication as one of the biggest challenges for remote teams, but there are ways to address this. 

Most UK employees are working remotely at least part of the time. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels)

Hundreds of UK businesses have embraced remote work, with around 70% or more of British workers reporting that their employers let them work remotely at least several days each week. 

Of the businesses that are more reluctant to let employees work remotely, most say it’s because of communication challenges that can hamper productivity and innovation.

However, maintains that communication challenges don’t mean businesses must switch to in-person work automatically.

There are many ways companies can address and correct this, and this article helps to highlight some of those options. 


Communication and remote work challenges

In its IT Skills & Salary Report 2023, Skillsoft, a SAAS company, found that most businesses report communication challenges on remote teams.

Some businesses say they have challenges with communication on remote teams. (Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels)

They asked companies what their major challenges were with remote or hybrid working and found that 16% said communication was the biggest one. Another 12% said interpersonal communication. 

It’s not uncommon for businesses to express concern about communication. Most of the remote work opponents claim that employees aren’t able to collaborate as well online as they are in person. 

While this may be the case for some organisations, research suggests that it has more to do with a company culture that is not inclusive as opposed to being a symptom of remote work itself. 

Additionally, Skillsoft found that 14% of businesses said they have no challenges with remote work or hybrid work at all.

This shows that although communication can present as a challenge, it’s not one that is as debilitating as some remote work opponents may make it seem. 


How to improve communication on remote teams

Remote teams can improve communication in several ways, such as:

1. Use multiple lines of communication

There are many ways to address communication challenges on a remote team. (Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels)

This means incorporating not just messaging apps like Slack but also other tools that can include chat, video, voice, text, scheduling and the like. It can help streamline availability and make the most out of communication.

2. Keep channels of communication open

Remote work is all about flexibility, and that means having a phone call may not always be the best option for everyone on the team. Keeping different lines open so team members can reach out in convenient and effective ways can help.

3. Cut back on meetings

Yes, you read that correctly. Some companies can use frequent virtual meetings as a stand-in for being able to visit someone’s physical office, but research from HR technology firm Zoho suggests that more meetings actually hinder progress for remote teams. 

Instead, more streamlined meetings held just once or twice a week can help to maximise efficiency and improve meaningful communication in a way that boosts productivity. 

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