When you’re working remotely, follow the three C’s of communication and blend the right kinds of communication formats and styles that work for you, your coworkers and the company culture.
When you’re in the office, it’s much easier to have impromptu meetings or conversations with your coworkers. Plus, there’s nothing like in-person interactions to get things cleared up fast.

It’s like when you’ve sent an email to your colleague a couple of days ago and they’re totally unresponsive. But, since their desk is only a few steps away, you can swing by and ask about it.

The same goes for when others are trying to reach you.

Sometimes, they’ll stop by your desk and check-in with you about a task, request or status update on the project. Or, when the both of you are in the same stupid meeting, you guys can have side convos and follow up on things or just shoot the shit.

These informal in-person interactions have a lot of value because it keeps the information flowing both ways frequently.

The challenge is that when you and/or your coworkers are working remotely from home, you lose out on these informal interactions that are information-rich.

And when information is not flowing as frequently and/or not clear, things get bogged down, mistakes start to happen and shit starts falling through the cracks.

This is when you’re out of the loop. And if it continues unabated, that’s when the shit hits the fan eventually.

To prevent this from happening, you need to adapt your communication when you’re working remotely from home. You have to make up for the lack of in-person interaction and keep yourself on track.

It’s Time To Up Your Communication Game

While it is an absolute godsend to be able to work remotely from home, the one big drawback is not having those informal in-person chats. You don't really know how valuable those impromptu discussions are until you don’t have them anymore.

Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue.

It wasn’t too long ago when the only options for remote communications were just your phone and email.

Now, there’s Brady Bunch style video conferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, live whiteboarding, etc.

The goal here is to find the right mix of communications that meshes with your particular company culture and your style. Get the mix spot on and you’ll get in the zone every day.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to put together your perfect communication recipe for success.

1) Always Follow The Three C’s Of Communication

No matter what kind of communication method you’re using, if you use the three Cs (Clear, Consistent, and Concise) you’ll be golden.

Clear communications are simple and stick to the facts. No side dishes here.

Consistent means that your communication style doesn’t vary wildly. It always has a uniform tone.

Concise communications are brief and get to the fucking point fast without any fluff or other bullshit.

When you follow the three C’s, it not only makes your life easier but also your coworkers and bosses too.

2) Figure Out People’s Communication Preferences

Everyone has their particular preferences for communication. It’s your job to figure out who likes what and use that channel to share the right information at the right time.

Maybe your team members are big into using instant messaging platforms like Slack. If so, jump on the bandwagon and get connected.

Maybe your control freak boss is really old skool and prefers to communicate only via live phone conversations for complex matters.

And, of course, there’s email which is pretty universal for everyone. However, it’s the other secondary forms of communication that you need to be aware of.

3) Use The Right Platform For The Right Message 

Sending a long and complex message with attachments via instant messaging is not ideal. People will be like WTF?

And leaving someone a super-long voice-mail message for something you need a quick confirmation on is not going to get you a quick answer.

Use the appropriate channel for the kind of message you want to send.

For example, most people use instant messaging for short messages and quick questions, replies and/or confirmations.

Email is usually better for longer messages and sending attachments. It’s also understood that email doesn’t mandate an immediate reply. It’s for stuff you can wait on.

Video and phone calls are ideal for information intense interactions that require a lot of back-n-forth live dialogue.

4) Understand Communication Order Of Priorities 

Just like understanding which modes of communication to use, you should also know the order of priorities that these communications typically follow.

Probably the most time-pressing one is phone calls. When you see a phone call from your boss, customers, coworkers and work BFFs, you’ll typically want to answer these unless you’re tied up in another meeting or call.

Video calls are somewhat along the same lines. The shitty part is that you’d better be presentable when answering that video call. You can’t be working in your PJs. There is such a thing as WFH dress code for video calls.

Instant messaging as the name suggests, is all about quick items. So, try to get to these within five minutes or so.

Emails have the longest response time intervals due to their more information intensive nature. So, these can wait a bit longer but you should aim to reply within a day ideally and if not, within one to three business days.

5) Watch Your Tone And Use Emojis To Convey Emotions

The tough thing about electronic communication is that it doesn’t convey emotional tones and/or sarcasm very well. A specific text message or email can easily be interpreted in different ways by different people.

One person might read that message as being a totally rude-ass email. While another person wouldn’t see anything wrong with it at all.

Text messages are also notorious for this.

VIDEO: Text Message Confusion
YOUTUBE: Comedy Central
LENGTH: 2:46
So, the point here is to stay away from using sarcasm or other nuanced tones in your writing. It probably won’t be understood.

Instead, keep your writing clear so everybody gets it. You can use emojis to help you make it clear that you’re joking, being silly, etc. Just don’t go overboard with the emojis. Limited to one or two max. It’s all about clarity.


Using all caps in your communications, regardless of what channel, is the equivalent of yelling at the top of your lungs.

With only a few exceptions, you shouldn’t use all caps in your writing, unless the situation really requires it. It’s okay for celebrating happy birthday wishes, congratulating achievements, high-fiving others, etc. However, in most all other cases, using all caps, particularly in negative situations, isn’t good email etiquette.

Just like in real life, you need to have a bit of restraint and not lose your shit when a coworker fucking pisses you off. No all caps yelling. Keep it together.

There are other ways to manage work stress situations like this.

7) Do Video Calls For When You Need Visual Cues

There’s nothing like face-to-face communication to really see someone’s reaction and body language. Those informal cues give you a lot of visual signals as to how the other person is taking in the information.

Facial expressions alone can tell you if someone is confused, happy, angry, sad, doubtful, in agreement or disagreement, etc.

So, for those conversations where it’s important to see how the other person will absorb the information, do it via a video call.

8) Sprinkle In Some Informal Chit-Chat 

Don’t be all business all the time with every single piece of communication. We’re all humans here and everyone enjoys informal conversations. It shouldn't be “shop talk” all the time.

Get to know your coworkers, customers and other contacts. Get to know them as people and friends. Open up and share your fun side too. It’ll put more shine on your personal brand.

Having informal chit-chat not only eases work stress, but it can also help you build alliances and stronger relationships throughout the organization and expand your career network.

When you’re great to work with and fun, recruiters will be knocking on your door.

9) Hang Out & Socialize Too

Informal chit-chat is a great way to keep things lighthearted and friendly. But, you know you can do better.

When you and/or your coworkers are working remotely, everybody misses out on the social gatherings that would normally happen at the office. It’s the morning donuts, team lunch pizzas and afternoon office cake parties.

To make up for this, try setting up a “hang out and socialize” meeting with your team. It could be a virtual happy hour, weekly team lunch or whatever. There just needs to be a gathering spot where everyone can see each other and just hang with no business agenda. 

10) Respect Working Hours In Other Time Zones

If your company has a globally distributed workforce, you need to be cognizant and respectful of their time zones.

Don’t call their personal cell phones or send texts and instant messages to them when it’s off-hours for them. Just because you’re still working doesn’t mean that they are.

It allows them (and conversely you) to disconnect from work and relax. Everybody needs unplugged evenings to digitally detox from their workday.

Better Communication Means Better Work

There’s no doubt that having in-person face-to-face communication with others is the most effective way to share information. It’s not just the words but all the other visual signals that you get when you’re there physically.

When you’re working remotely, you lose out on some of those finer nuances. However, thanks to technology, you can still have nearly all the benefits without the frustrations of being in the office.

The key to making it all work well is to find the right combination of tools and tactics that blend your communication style with others and the company culture.

Get that recipe nailed and you’ll never be out of the loop ever again.

Feel Better,
[Cubicle Therapy]

more on cubicle life