Messaging Etiquette: Tips for Professionals Remote Workers

Messaging Etiquette: Tips for Professionals Remote Workers

Working remotely can be a massive step in your professional career, but it can also be a big change that you didn’t realize you weren’t ready for. If you are new to working remotely, you might not yet know all the unspoken rules you should follow when communicating with fellow team members. Hence, here are the messaging etiquette tips for professional remote workers.

1. Consider the Tone You Use

First and foremost, you should always consider the tone you are using when communicating with your colleagues. The most peculiar thing about language is that different people can understand it differently, even those speaking the same language since they were little kids. Some words have multiple meanings, while others may have completely different meanings in different dialects or variants of the said language.

Consequently, you must think twice before sending a specific message or using certain words or phrases. At the same time, you should read your message over at least once to see if the tone you are using is appropriate and doesn’t sound too harsh or even rude. Likewise, you don’t want to seem too casual either because that might make your language feel unprofessional.

2. Have Perfect Timing

The next thing you need to do is have perfect timing when sending a message to a particular colleague. Of course, it is virtually impossible to have entirely perfect timing. Still, you can come very close simply by respecting boundaries and never messaging your colleagues when they are on a break (or during off-work hours).

Moreover, it would be best if you remembered that some of your colleagues live in different time zones, which means they will not reply to you right away and could even get alarmed when they see an urgent message you sent hours ago. Keep in mind these time differences at all times to remain respectful and professional.

3. Send Complete Messages

Many people make one big mistake – whether they are regular employees or manage an entire team of remote workers – is sending incomplete messages. These messages can alarm your colleagues, just like messages sent in an untimely manner. To avoid such situations, you need to write messages that have a beginning, middle, and end:

  • Beginning: This is the part where you say hi and introduce the topic that your message pertains to.
  • Middle: This is the main body of your message, which discusses what exactly you are writing about and want to discuss.
  • End: This is the concluding part where you say thank you or inform the recipient that you will be getting back to them in some time.

Structuring your messages allows you to be more organized while also delivering all the information you want to provide to your colleague. Moreover, it will help you be more precise about your intentions.

4. Never Ignore Miscommunication

Miscommunication is a big problem in companies of all sizes, just as it is an issue in remote teams. All the best websites are writing about communicating better within an organization or company stress just how important it is to solve miscommunication problems when they arise instead of letting them grow and stack up gradually.

Ignoring miscommunication is not the answer, but how exactly can you solve such issues? For starters, address them. Sort out what went wrong and get everyone on the same page before you move forward. Then, make sure that you implement the proper measures to prevent miscommunication from happening again. Have a set of rules that everyone can follow when communicating with each other and teach employees how to be more evident when they want something.

6. Choose the Right Communication Method

Remembering that communication is not just about messaging is difficult to do when you are used to texting, but messaging is not always the primary communication method when it comes to professional communication. Consequently, you should always choose the correct communication method before deciding to get in touch with a particular colleague.

Messaging is by far the fastest and easiest way to communicate about an urgent matter. You can use texting for daily communication both in a group and privately. Emails are a bit more formal and allow you to deliver more information, but they aren’t as good for instant communication. And, of course, virtual meetings can be held as an alternative to face-to-face meetings typically held in offices. Depending on the situation, you need to decide which method is the most appropriate for communication.

6. Be Mindful of Virtual Meetings Etiquette

Speaking of virtual meetings, they have etiquette that you should follow when you decide to communicate through a virtual meeting. Here are some tips on how you can be mindful of virtual meetings etiquette:

  • Choose the software that is most suitable for all of your team members. Whether it is Zoom or Microsoft Teams or the slightly outdated Skype, most remote team members prefer whatever is preferred must be the ultimate choice for virtual meetings.
  • Mute your microphone when you aren’t talking. Background noise can be a massive distraction for everyone involved. Moreover, it prevents other members from being appropriately heard when they are talking.
  • Signal visually that you hear and understand what others are talking about. During a virtual meeting, you can’t just say “yeah” and “I understand” all the time because your mic will be muted. But you can still nod, which you should do to show that you are fully involved.
  • Try to follow the same etiquette rules you would follow during a regular meeting. Remember that it’s not all that different, so you shouldn’t try to invent a bicycle. Just be polite and respectful, give your input when it’s needed, don’t interrupt others, and so on.

7. Avoid Using Sarcasm and Irony

In addition to being respectful and using the right tone, you should avoid using sarcasm and irony even if you feel like it’s appropriate to crack a joke at a particular moment by using precisely one of the two. For starters, sarcasm and irony are not professional in the slightest, but that’s just one of the many problems with them.

As mentioned earlier, language can be interpreted in different ways. Because sarcasm and irony are made up of, well, words and phrases, you can expect them to be misinterpreted quite easily. Some people in your team might not have the same sense of humor that you do, which will inevitably result in someone getting offended.

8. Be Clear About What You Mean

According to all the best writers from any top writing service you choose, clarity is one of the most essential elements of any piece of content. In other words, you need to be clear about what you mean whenever you are creating content. And because communication is about content in some way, clarity is crucial for it too.

Instead of using confusing language, try to stick to words and phrases that everyone uses all the time and, consequently, understands. Don’t try to make your sentences too complex. Instead, stick to simplicity as the foundation of your communication. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should altogether avoid using specific industry terminology, but you can stop using too many confusing and rarely used words.

9. Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time

The golden rule of communication is never to waste anyone’s time. Time is money, so the more time you take from your colleagues’ lives, the more annoyed they will be with your messages. On the other hand, if you respect their time and make sure that you only contact them when necessary, you will be able to communicate faster, clearer, and in a much more understandable way.

Not wasting time can be done in different ways, but it’s pretty much the result of using all the tips mentioned in this article together. Get to the point right away and send complete messages. Avoid using sarcasm and irony and address any instances of miscommunication when they happen.

10. Trust Your Colleagues

Last but not least, you need to trust your colleagues. After all, trust is one of those things that will help you build the foundation of your relationship with your team. If you can trust them to do their daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, you can reflect that in how you communicate with them.

If you are managing a team, don’t micromanage too much and instead trust your colleagues to do what they should do. Set realistic deadlines and goals for every employee, but never check up on them too often because that will only make them annoyed and untrustful in return.

Final Thoughts

All in all, working remotely as a professional will require you to follow specific messaging etiquette rules. So, don’t forget to use the tips in this article to help you get the hang of what your behavior should be like when communicating with your colleagues as remote team workers.

Ana Mayer is a freelance writer who is a qualified specialist in the field of digital marketing. She writes for different news portals and thematic blogs that help her stay at the heart of the programming and technology news. Such work allows her to write articles on the most relevant topics of today.

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