Another critical component of communication when working remotely is to make space for human connectivity.
To achieve this, it's important to integrate social aspects into your remote work dynamics.
There's no "water cooler" or break room to collect around when you're working from home. So, you need to make a concerted effort to add human elements to your digital communications.
One way to do that is through small talk.
A small talk is a powerful tool on so many levels. It's a great way to build rapport, create trust with the other person, and nurture the work relationships that you've worked so hard to build.
How should we integrate small talk into our communications?
Well, if it's the first note of the day, ask a personal question before jumping into the business.
Make the question specific and personal because that's more authentic.
"Hi, how are you?" is generic and boring, it's always going to engender the same robotic and dull response: "doing well thanks, and you?"
So we want to steer clear of that and instead come up with something more engaging and meaningful.
For example, if it's the first message of the week, ask them if they got up to anything fun that weekend.
…or tell them about a book you're reading,
…or vent about the craziest thing that just happened in the TV series you're both watching,
…or tell them about an awesome new workout app,
…or share a healthy new recipe you discovered and think they might enjoy.
Your goal here is to build effective ways of building touchpoints into your routine communications.
Now, it's important to recognize that a lot of professional communication does not have a place for personal side-chatter.
This is where your alternate channels of communication, which Greg mentioned, come in handy.
For instance, if you're sending a beefy email, send a separate, more personal note on the side with a warm greeting, giving them a heads up that a dense "no-nonsense" email is on the way.
Slack, instant messaging apps, and other chat tools you use in the office can be great for this.
The goal is to add some personal flair to your communications to humanize your interactions.
We're not Cylons in a Battlestar Galactica rerun. We're empathetic living creatures and we care about each other's feelings and lives.
So embrace that fact!
Doing this will engender more fluid communication and ultimately better project outcomes.