Help Remote Teams Thrive By 24% With This Research Backed Communication Style

“Bursty” Communication Can Help Remote Teams Thrive

Working from home is becoming more mainstream, but large employers are starting to wonder whether remote work actually stifles innovation and productivity.

Can remote teams achieve the productivity of the office and still allow the convenience of working at home?

The general thinking seems to be swinging toward “no.” Many tech companies like IBM, Apple, Facebook, and Google communication style - Coaching Performance Resultsrely heavily on remote teams, but some of them have started to discourage the practice. To compensate for the lost convenience, companies try luring people to linger at work with free food and laundry services. The rationale for this move is that remote workers do not meet by chance at the proverbial watercooler, encounters that, the thinking goes, will lead to better innovation.

This backlash against remote work may be wrongheaded. In recent research published in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries (original articleand open access pre-print), we show that remote teams who communicate in bursts—exchanging messages quickly during periods of high activity—perform much better than remote teams whose conversations involve long lag time between responses and are spread across multiple topic threads. In other words, it might not be distance per se that limits remote teams.

Can remote teams achieve the productivity of the office and still allow the convenience of working at home?

Generating bursts of activity through appropriate prioritization may be particularly important if team members are distributed across different time zones. If a response to a question comes in only after several hours, it may be too late in the day for the recipient to do anything with it.

By designing systems that facilitate bursts of communication and collaboration among team members, employers can achieve higher quality collaboration in their teams, all while balancing employees’ desire to work remotely. And that creates innovation, no matter where the office—or the watercooler—is located.

Read the full post on Behavior Scientist


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