Are you effectively using communication tools while working remote? Do you constantly blow up your team with texts or IMs to the point that they can’t get anything done? Or, is your team doing that to you?

If you feel like you have less time now than you did working at the office, chances are your feeling is and right, and it’s not 100% because you’re family is at home with you too. It’s because you haven’t defined which methods of communication should be used for each communication need.

We have four primary communication tools: email, text/IM, phone call, video call. Use email for FYIs and giving direction/information with a deadline attached. Texts/IMs should be used for faster awareness of a situation or immediate follow up. Phone calls should be placed if you need to hear the person’s tone, if the situation is urgent, or if you want to show care and concern when checking on someone. Video calls are for when you need to see everyone’s facial expressions/body language and you want them to feel more aligned as a group.

Knowing those parameters, establish your rules around communication in your organization. Then, model the behavior. Only then will you and your team feel less handcuffed to the computer.