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Updated: Oct 28, 2021

My organization has relied on a remote team to serve our clients around the world since its inception in 2014. You could say we have been working from home long before it was cool — or necessary. But for the millions of people new to this arrangement, the transition from living at work to working where you live is a shock to the system. (This is, of course, backed by solid research of social media memes.)

Among the obvious challenges of working from home, including other occupants and space, is the impact on how we communicate with our co-workers. The impromptu hallway meetings and watercooler chatter has been replaced with Zoom, email, Slack, household noise and conference calls. The loss of in-person communication can have a huge impact on our work. We can no longer take for granted how much direct access to leaders, small conversations in passing and clear body language can add context to our workflow and clarity to our assignments.

Now that the initial shock of working from home has worn off, your company may be looking for ways to improve communication to fill in the gaps and make everyone feel more connected. In my organization, we pride ourselves on agility, transparency and putting people first in everything we do. Those are values that require a lot of meaningful checkpoints. So how do we do that with a workforce spread out across the globe? We rely on three foundational elements that make up and reinforce our people-first culture.

Break Down Walls

When information does not flow freely, it can arrest projects and increase frustrations. That is why it is essential for leadership to take extra steps to ensure communication flows across the organization.

Virtual Communication: The One Thing You Can Do To Be More Effective

In my organization, we hold weekly breakout sessions with representatives from sales, marketing, operations and research and development (R&D) to provide project status reports and address issues blocking completion. This 35-minute call appears to be just another meeting. However, what it does is create understanding around project timelines or delays. Each week, we also have the privilege of coming together on a company-wide call, during which a rotating member of each department shares their experiences from the previous week. These meetings give us the opportunity to cheer each other on and share organizational priorities.