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To Meeky Hwang, overcommunication isn’t a bad thing for remote work. 

Meeky is the CTO, partner, and technical architect of Ndevr, a company that helps businesses reach their digital goals through technical audits, site architecture, site development, and technical strategy. Having operated in a remote capacity since its conception in 2015, Meeky stresses the importance of communication in the workplace. 

“We’re a development company, so we don’t have to be onsite,” Meeky says. “Of course there are benefits to being face-to-face and solving issues together. But a lot of times, and thanks to strong communication, we don’t really need it.”

Meeky shares her thoughts on  why communication is a particular skill set for remote work and how she promotes communication among her team. 

Communication as a crucial skill for remote work 

There are a lot of perks to working remotely, but it also requires collaboration, transparency, and communication in order to be successful. For Meeky, this has been something she and her partner have worked on from day one. 

“Making sure that people are the right fit for remote work was initially the main challenge for us. A lot of people who are used to office work struggle with seeing remote work as a proper  working environment,” Meeky explains. “It’s a mindset. You still have to have a separate space in your house. We also try to promote giving employees a set allowance to find local offices that they can go in and work at.”

To keep things running smoothly, a successful remote worker needs to communicate how they work and what their status is to their teammates. It may seem like overcommunication, but to Meeky, that is a good thing, and completely necessary. It allows everyone to work their best. 

A woman typing on her laptop, communicating with her teammates while working remotely.

With minimal distractions, team members with high-focus jobs like programmers and developers can achieve greater productivity. Yet if someone who is hyperproductive goes radio silent on communication channels like Slack and email, it can lead to issues for the broader team. 

“Sometimes you might be getting into some issues where someone gets into the zone, and people need something from them,” Meeky says, noting it can slow projects down. “Communication is essential for remote work.”

It’s a delicate balance of finding the right person for remote work: Someone who works well alone and without supervision, but can also communicate effectively and openly. While some people may be attracted to remote work, they might not be the best fit.

“We always try to talk things through and figure out what’s going on. A lot of times you can resolve it. Sometimes they might just not be a good fit. Remote work might not be the best fit for everyone,” Meeky says.

Remote work communication at Ndevr 

When it comes to Ndevr and the remote work environment they’ve created, Meeky and her co-founder continue to emphasize open communication. 

“A lot of the time, Slack conversations can be misleading. There’s always a bit of miscommunication going on because you can’t really read the tones on emails or Slack,” Meeky says. “We promote jumping into the Zoom meeting with the camera on to figure out what’s going on. We actually integrated our Zoom meetings to our Slack to promote face-to-face meetings.”

According to research from The University of Texas, communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words. Nonverbal cues like facial expressions, posture, and eye contact are incredibly important when fully understanding someone’s true feelings and intentions. In a remote work environment without video calls, all of that gets lost. 

A man contemplating what he should write when communicating with his coworkers while working remotely.

Communication and transparency are recurring themes with Meeky. It goes beyond just making sure that projects and priorities are communicated. She wants her team members to get to know each other, especially those working on different projects. 

“We want to make sure that all our employees know each other,  and that they can connect with each other and ask questions as well,” Meeky says. “We have regular stand-up meetings where everyone is checking in together. I want to make sure that everyone knows that there are other people other than just me or my other partner that can help or support them.”

Whether it’s through Zoom or annual in-person get togethers, she wants her team to feel empowered to reach out to peers to ask questions and get information they need. That sense of connection is important in a remote work environment. 

Why effective communication is essential for strong remote work culture

Strong communication can result in deeper connections at work. Think about how few communication barriers there are in an office. Oftentimes, employees have to put in little to no effort to ask questions or get what they need. 

While communication in a remote setting requires more work, it also reaps great rewards. With remote work, employees can enjoy the flexibility and perks of a better work/life balance. But they can still feel connected to their peers while promptly finding the information they need. Laying a strong foundation for effective communication in your remote work culture goes a long way for your employees, your team, and your company.  

Strong communication in a remote workplace doesn’t end with Slack DMs. Airspeed’s suite of Slack apps helps keep team members engaged and in touch so projects keep moving and your team feels connected. 

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