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5 Tips on how to avoid communication breakdown in Remote Work

Published by
Editorial team
on
February 25, 2021

According to a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.

The miscommunication can be a serious problem if it's overlooked again and again. We all feel that miscommunication is obvious or we have a casual attitude towards communication gaps and errors. 

Yes, to a certain extent it is obvious and too easy to occur but in the long run, communication errors can result in some unwanted consequences. 

A general observation related to communication error is that people assume that communication errors can not take place when a small number of people are working or communicating. And it is a myth! 

Communication error can also take place between just 2 people or among 200 people, it has hardly to do something with numbers. It is more related to the exchange of information and its interpretation. 

Talking about communication errors in companies or among employees; specifically among remote employees; can put the company in danger. 

Theoretically, it seems extremely easy to avoid communication errors and simply follow certain practices but we all know in practical life things don't work that way. 

And that's where the problem starts! 

Communication can get complicated in some scenarios like if the teammates do not meet in person and if they don't trust each other or they are not able to express themselves; things start getting messy and it will soon give rise to bigger problems. 

One side of the story says that hiring remote employees help the organization to meet the global demands, work faster and get a bigger team easily but the other side when communication error comes into the picture tackling it for remote employees can be painful; isn't it? 

That doesn't mean you have to stop hiring a remote employee. 

Rather you should start taking up a practical approach & find the solution! 

To find the solution, first one needs to address the problem.

Reasons behind Communication Error:

Remote Team and In house Team, both can face challenges that give rise to communication problems. So let's quickly list down some of the most common reasons that are rooting communication issues. 

1. Incomplete Information: 

"Complete the Report" is one of the highest heard commands in the office, but do you feel this command will form a healthy communication link between employee and employer? 

It's a clear no! 

The reason is that the communication or order passed is incomplete, it should have sufficient details. In absence of those details, the other person will start assuming things and both will not be on the same page. Their consent will be entirely different. 

To avoid any clashes, one should start passing clear and complete information. So the better way of putting it can be "Complete the Annual Report by this Friday." 

The above-conveyed sentence clearly conveys information that which report needs to be completed and by when. A lot of time employees assume things as per their schedule or convenience. 

This is just an example, there may be more than 5 orders on a daily basis that are communicated without clear information. 

Incomplete Information gives rise to more than half of our problems, so if it is tackled well! It becomes easy to establish a smooth communication channel. 

Tips to Keep in Mind: 

  • Always think twice about the facts and then communicate.
  • Ask the person to confirm whether he understood exactly the same thing which you wanted to convey.
  • If possible keep communications of vital things in writing.
  • Oral communication has higher chances of being vague. 
  • Mention all the related details about the topic that you are talking about. 
  • Use easily understandable words. 
  • Keep communication short, clear and complete. 

2. One way communication: 

When the flow of communication is just one way, it is really tough to understand what the listeners have understood and perceived. 

In one way of communication, you are unaware of how they are taking your commands or how they are interpreting the task given by you. 

It is common to occur while conducting a meeting, holding a conference, or while giving a presentation. You have no clue whether you have communicated properly or whether they have understood it correctly...

In such cases, the entire communication channel shall get disturbed. You will lose track of what you said, how you meant, what others felt and ultimately how things are being taken ahead. 

This can be dangerous. If you say while giving a presentation that the idea of doing the review is good. Some people may take it lightly by assuming the idea is just good and not great, others might take it seriously that idea is good and some might not understand the concept of taking review. 

So, one needs to be cautious while conducting one-way communication. With every problem, a solution is attached; you can overcome the problems of one-way communication with some tips! 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • Be specific. 
  • Always ask for feedback after every topic you communicate.
  • Keep an eye on listeners' gestures while you are communicating.
  • Ask more questions when you are communicating, so that you can make out conclusions from their answers.
  • Understand their reactions.
  • Explain your points with examples. 
  • Keep the communication lively, and use real cases for explaining in a better way.


3. Preconceived Notions: 

A lot of times we have preconceived notions, assumptions, thoughts, impressions about certain things and our entire communication get influenced by that notion. 

It is completely normal to have preconceived notions, every human has it. It can be for things, persons, actions, words, gestures or anything. 

Has it ever happened that whenever an employee messages you, without even reading the message you feel he must be asking for leaves or holidays. But when you read the message he might have asked you something else or just have randomly messaged you. 

We kind of are biased due to our preconceived notion and that can impact communication widely. We might think that the boss will always talk rudely or he will reject the proposal without even proposing or presenting the idea. We just assume! 

It will not help to communicate independently and clearly. 

One should avoid catering for notions or assumptions while communicating. Communicate and if you are just doing it with a fresh mind, express yourself without predicting how the other person will react or what will be the end result; just focus on what you want to express or convey and do it without any biased approach. 

This will help to establish an independent communication channel that will be free from any assumptions, predictions, notions and it will keep the essence of communication alive. 

Things to keep in mind: 

  • Don't be too quick to judge. 
  • Be a good listener. 
  • Communicate without being biased. 
  • Think rationally and don't let your thoughts get influenced. 
  • Keep communication real and to the point. 
  • Be precise about what you want to communicate.


5 Solutions to Deal with Remote Communication Error: 

We know the communication problem and it can be solved with a proper solution. The solution should be practical and easily applicable, only then it is possible to implement it without any hurdle. 


1. Use Applications & Softwares:

The best way to handle the communication error for remote teams is to rely on some applications. 

There are so many applications available in the market, you can use different applications for a different purpose. 

If you use apps, the chances of human errors while communicating will reduce to a great extent.


Here’s list of applications & softwares: 

undiffer:

It helps the employees to mention their daily goals, punch in the timings and mention how much time they have taken for each task. This will help the company to clearly communicate about the workload of the employee, his timelines and whether he is taking deadlines seriously or not.

Google Hangouts:

It can help to take care of internal communication. You can easily communicate with remote employees, know if they are online. Place a video call and conduct meetings. Share the files, images, videos, gif and vital documents with fewer efforts. 

Google Keep:

With the help of it you can make a to-do list or add important points in the notes of each employee. It also has the option of a checklist so you can strike through the points that are done or not required. You can communicate without any error. 


2. Review Communication Meetings:



Conduct a review meeting from time to time. It will help you to understand if the employee or employer is facing any problem related to communication. Or if they are not comfortable using the existing communication tools or channels. It will help them to expose the errors or loopholes or reasons that are hurdles in the way of the smooth communication channel. 

Weekly Communication Review:

It can be a casual oral review from each department, whether the entire department is communicating properly or if they are facing any issues. 

Monthly Communication Review:

You can talk with all the department heads and gather insights about each employee and their communication trait also you can personally have word with department heads about what scope of improvement they are expecting in the existing communication channel. 

Yearly Communication Review:

Talk with each employee and understand their reviews about communication, address difficulties faced by them and help to solve them. Motivate them to communicate clearly and without any fear.

Related Article:


3. Rely on Written Communication:


It's better to communicate in written format. As the scope error and misunderstanding reduces when things are in written format. 

Also it becomes easy to understand what a person is exactly trying to communicate and what is conveyed. 

The threat of preconceived notions or incomplete information can also be overcome via written communication. 

In case of any dispute or disagreement, it is easy to refer to the written communication and draw the conclusion.

But, that is not the case with oral communication. Majorly oral communication is considered vague and it has comparatively more drawbacks.

4. Communication Training Center:

Communication training can be conducted for each employee. Just like other training is being conducted in the company; it is fair to conduct training for communication. 

Wherein it can be explained how to be confident while communicating, how to initiate conversation, how to present your ideas and what are the best ways of formal communication.

Also, the joinee can get trained here with the communication pattern and channel of that company so if they have any query they can share it. 

From the very beginning, the employee can understand in detail communication and can sharpen their skills to be apt for communication. 

5. Address the Issues

Just to be perfect, we can not overlook the flaws; isn't it? 

We all want to be perfect and that's why either we overlook the flaws or we hide them. But is that the correct way to handle the problem? 

No, instead we should accept flaws and try to rectify them. 

Similarly, if an employee has a problem related to communication or the company is not having an ideal communication channel, don't overlook this problem.

Instead, address this problem and find a solution. 

Finding a solution will always help you to grow rather than hiding it. 


Conclusion:

Communication is a strong term, and it needs to be handled wisely. You can win hearts with communication or shatter the goals with it.

“Communication is about intentions and timings”

All you need to understand is, communication should be done at the right time, in the right way, at the right place, with the right person. Missing out on either of these can cause trouble. It can imbalance the essence of communication and things can get spoiled. 

To enjoy the fruits of communication, use it properly and effectively! 



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