Informal communication in remote teams

Lots of companies have changed their way of work radically 5 weeks ago because of the virus. Hundreds of thousands of teams switched instantly from co-located work to remote work. That is exactly what many employees fought for for years. But because it came so suddenly, most are not prepared.

The biggest change by far is communication. Good teamwork is based on good relationships between people, which depends on good communication. We are building relationships with all we know as smalltalk, water cooler talk and something we call in Germany ‘Feierabendbier’ – after-work beer.

Can this work remotely? Yes it can. Informal communication can have the following forms in remote teams:

  • stay in touch with your teammates with regular talks via Slack, Teams or whatever conferecing platform you use – but please with video
  • randomly organised one-on-one talk inside your team or organisation, wherein you discuss 15 – 30 min about free topics, gladly personal topics
  • teams or departements do breakfast or lunch breaks together, maybe at special days per week (video on!)
  • make appointments for an after work beer – use your video conferencing platform, take a seat which is not your working place, take a drink of your choice and try to avoid work related discussions (that is my favorite)

Please take care, that no one in your team will be left behind. Include everyone and wait not for rules or management guidelines, you can improve the communication with your own initiative, instantly.

What’s your experience with informal communication? How often do you do it? Have you developed other forms? Please let us know in the comment section!

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