Communicate effectively in a remote-first company.

When all your colleagues are remote, how to communicate effectively to avoid conflicts and confusions.

2 min read

Working remote offers so many advantages but one major disadvantage that comes with it is that it silos every individual employee. I've been working in a remote environment since 4 years now, and over the years, I've formed myself a way of communication that works effectively. I'll summaries it here briefly:

  1. NoHello : <-- Click the link. Essentially, it says, when you message someone, do NOT just say hello and wait for the other person to respond. Instead, start with the message you wanna communicate already. I have made improvements on this formula. The way I send messages is

    "Hi <recipient>, This is <significance of message ie, urgent or important, or both>, I need <expected time in minutes to explain the task> minutes of your time. It is because <briefly explain the issue>. Can we get on a call?"

  2. Over Communicate: No harm has ever come from telling your colleagues more than they need to know. A LOT of harm has come from not telling your colleagues what you assume they know already. All of this in an appropriate and relevant context of course. You're facing a problem and you're already solving it, drop a message to your reporting manager anyway. Your dog is getting his vaccine shots, probably refrain from telling your manager.

  3. Pictures help: We are all children at heart 不. When describing a problem, attach relevant screenshots/pictures for better understanding. They will always fetch quicker results and less confusion.

  4. Listicles: Nobody has the time to read a paragraph. Break relevant things down in a bullet/numbered list. This blog is an example.

Over the many years that I have worked remotely, I've literally set the culture for high performing teams that have worked on products like Dream11 and Hotstar and this is the method of communication that has worked for me - I hope it works for you too.