You check your email again.
It’s been more than 24 hours since you emailed your colleague. Although he lives in another continent with a time zone five hours behind yours, he should’ve seen your email by now.
At last, you can’t wait any longer. You private message him. “Hey there, just checking, did you see my email?”
“Nope, sorry, I must’ve missed it. I’ll look for it now. What was the subject line?” he replies.
This is just one example of the many communication challenges remote teams face every day.
Communication is difficult enough in a traditional team. Being scattered all over the globe adds layers of complexity.
When a question pops into your mind, you can’t just skip over to a team member’s cubicle to ask.
Sure, you could fire off a quick email or private message… but if it’s the middle of the night for her right now, who knows when she’ll even see it?
Fortunately, collaboration platforms like monday.com help remote teams overcome these challenges.
monday.com provides a centralized, visual hub for all your remote team’s communication. Send context-specific messages, share files, delegate and monitor tasks, have ongoing virtual discussions—all in one place.
Communication Challenges of Remote Teams (and How to Overcome Them With monday.com)
Geographical distance, time zone differences, and sometimes even language barriers pose daily challenges to remote teams. All this can cause misunderstanding, missed deadlines, lost productivity, and disengagement from work.
These challenges manifest in different ways:
- Email inbox overwhelm. You receive—and send—too many emails and struggle to stay on top of an overflowing inbox and mile-long email threads.
- Lost emails and messages. For whatever reason, the recipient doesn’t see your email or PM, and you don’t find out until you’re desperate enough to pester them. Or, you thought you’d already replied to a message when, in fact, you’d forgotten.
- Inefficient file sharing. Back-and-forth emailing of files, only to have a hard time finding them when you need them. Sure, email and chat apps have a search function, but they don’t work well when you can’t remember anything about the file name.
- Lack of visibility. Without a real-life water cooler or hallways where colleagues can bump into each other and share stories, teams and individuals end up in silos. People don’t know what other people in the organization are working on.
- Disjointed conversations. With people checking in and out of work at different times, it’s easy to lose track of the context of any discussion.
Any remote team can address these challenges by centralizing their communication on monday.com.
Read on to find out how.
1. Send Context-Specific Messages
Your main communication tool on monday.com is the Update.
An Update is a note, comment, or message that’s always context-specific because it’s posted through a board item.
How to Post an Update
To post an Update, click on the speech icon of an item or task. The Update box slides open.
Type your message in the text box.
Address Specific People to Get Their Attention
Use @mention so that your message appears in the recipient's Notifications Bell when they log into their monday.com account.
You can @mention individuals, teams, or everyone on the account.
To see who’s seen an Update, hover over the eye icon.
There’s plenty you can do in an Update. You can:
- Add a checklist, which is perfect for tasks with subtasks that are too small to be their own item on the board.
- Insert hyperlinks to easily share web pages.
- Embed a GIF from the Giphy library without having to leave monday.com.
Attach files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box.com (Although, for better files management, I prefer to use File Boxes. More on that below.)
2. Never Miss a Message
As long as you and your colleagues are logging into your account and have your notifications set up, it’s nearly impossible to miss a message sent through monday.com.
Right off the bat, monday.com delivers two kinds of notifications when you log into your account: the Inbox and Notifications Bell. By always checking these two items, you won’t miss anything.
Check Your monday.com Inbox
By default, the Inbox gives you a newsfeed of all communication within boards you’re subscribed to. This includes items that haven't been assigned to you or that don’t mention you.
To view your Inbox, from your main monday.com dashboard, click Inbox in the left sidebar. Click the checkmark beside an Update to mark it as read and remove it from the feed.
Make sure you’re subscribed to boards that you want to stay in the loop about. To subscribe to a board, open the board. Click on the people icon on top of the board. A dialog box opens.
Type your name in the field or select your name from the drop-down list.
You're now added to the list of this board's subscribers. As such, you'll see this board's Updates in your monday.com Inbox.
Alternatively, with your Inbox open, you can switch to one of four Inbox View Options. These are located on the right side of your Inbox.
- Inbox Updates. See Updates of all the boards you’re subscribed to (this is the default view).
- I Was Mentioned. See only the Updates that @mention you.
- All Updates of [Account Name]. See all the Updates in your monday.com account.
- Bookmarked Updates. See Updates you’ve bookmarked.
Underneath the Inbox View Options, you're also able to filter your Inbox by board. Click on a board's name to see only the Updates in that board.
Within your Inbox, you can read and respond to Updates—without having to go to individual boards. You won’t have text formatting, hyperlinks, or checklists. However, you’ll still be able to attach files, embed a GIF, and @mention people.
Check Your Notifications Bell
The Notifications Bell lets you know about any activity in your monday.com account that relates to you. These include times when someone:
- added you to a board
- assigned a task to you
- @mentioned you in an Update
- replied to your Update
- liked your Update
To view your notifications, click on the Notifications Bell icon in the upper-left side of your monday.com screen. The number beside the bell indicates the number of new notifications.
Clicking on the message (in bold) brings you to the Update.
Set Up Email Notifications
In addition to the Inbox and Notifications Bell, you can also get notifications by email.
To set up your email notifications, go to your profile. Click on your profile image on the left sidebar. Then click My profile.
Click Notifications and place check next to the email notifications you want to receive.
As you can see, you can also Enable Desktop Notifications and opt for daily Updates via email.
Find Items That Need A Response
Here’s another easy way for you to never miss communication that may be waiting for a response: use Search Everything.
Click the search icon in the left sidebar. This brings you to the Search Everything view.
Under Quick Searches, click @ I was mentioned and didn’t reply.
Now you see all the Updates that @mention you, which you haven’t replied to yet. Clicking on the message itself brings you to the Update where you can then post a reply.
3. Share Information and Files With Info Boxes
Beyond exchanging messages with your teammates, you can post information they can access any time through Info Boxes. Info Boxes can hold notes, files, or Q&As.
To open Info Boxes, click on the speech bubble icon in an item. The Updates dialog slides open on the right. Click Info Boxes.
Share Context-Based Notes
To share Notes, from the Info Boxes dialog box, click Add a note.
The Note box opens. As with the Updates box, you can add text formatting, hyperlinks, tables, and attachments. There's no option to add a checklist, however.
When you’re done, click Save.
As I mentioned above, monday.com also streamlines file sharing and makes it easy for you and your colleagues to find files any time—without wading through streams of email or chat conversations. This is why it’s better to share files through Info Boxes than by attaching them to an Update.
To share a file, from Info Boxes, click Add files > Add file. Then, locate the file in your computer and click Open.
You can also add a note to the file, to let others know what it’s about and why it may be useful to them. Click on the field under the Notes column and type your note.
A Q&A box may be helpful in some board items. For example, you can use this to post frequently asked questions about an item. This frees you from having to respond to the same questions over and over again.
To add a Q&A, from Info Boxes, click Add Q&A. Type the question in the Question field and its corresponding answer in the Answer text field.
The Answer text field is similar to the Notes box. You can format the text, add bulleted or numbered lists, insert a table, and include hyperlinks.
When you're done, click Save.
4. Communicate On the Go
If you spend a lot of time outside your monday.com account or away from your keyboard, you can still communicate with the rest of your distributed teammates.
Respond To Updates Through Email
Follow the steps above to receive email notifications. An email notification looks like this:
When you receive an email notification about an Update that mentions you, you can reply to the Update without logging into monday.com by replying to the email notification. Hit Reply in your email app; clicking on a link within the email will bring you to the Update in your monday.com account. (Note: As of this writing, you cannot use @mention in your email reply.)
The message you emailed gets added to the conversation in the Update. It also appears in the Inbox of the person who posted the original Update.
Post Updates and Add Items Through Email
You can also post Updates to an item and add items to a board by simply sending an email. All you've got to do is to get the unique email address for the item or board. This entails a number of steps, which I break down for you below.
Go to your monday.com profile. Click Email Integration and then click the Copy Address button.
Copy the top address, if you want to be able to email Updates to an item. Copy the bottom address, if you want to be able to email new items to a board.
Paste the address into a text editor.
In this example, I’m getting the unique email address for Updates to an item. Open the item Updates by clicking on its speech bubble icon, then copy the item’s unique ID. This is the set of numbers at the end of the item’s URL.
Note: To get the email address of a board, follow the same steps but navigate to the board, instead of to an Update, to get its unique ID.
Go back to the text editor and replace (#ID) with the Update’s unique ID.
Now, you've got the email address for this item’s Updates. To post a new Update to this item, simply send an email to this email address.
Your email message gets posted as an Update to that specific item:
Stay In Touch with the monday.com Mobile App
Finally, you can always stay in touch wherever you are, by installing the monday.com iOS or Android app on your smartphone. Here's how:
Go to your profile. Under Personal Info, click the Phone field.
If you haven't done so yet, type your mobile phone number and check the box for Send me monday app download link. Then click Save.
You’ll receive a text message with the link to download the monday.com app on your smartphone. Follow the rest of the instructions to install it and log into your monday.com account.
From the monday.com smartphone app, you can receive notifications, access your Inbox and Notifications Bell, edit boards and items, and invite people to your account or board.
Communication Tips for Remote Teams
Follow these tips to make the most of monday.com’s robust communication tools.
1. Have Clear Guidelines
Agree with your team on when it’s appropriate to use monday.com, email, chat, text, phone calls, and other means of communication. For example, you may decide to keep everything on monday.com (highly recommended) and let each person decide whether or not they want to get notifications outside the platform, such as through email or desktop notifications. You may also make it a policy to never share files as email attachments (also highly recommended).
2. Err on the Side of Over-Communicating
The physical distance dividing remote team members often results in under-communication. To compensate for this, create a culture where everyone feels safe to ask questions freely. Make it clear that there are no stupid questions. Don’t make assumptions about what other team members know. Anticipate what information they might need and share it even before anyone asks. And, make it easy for them to find it what they need on their own.
3. Aim for Transparency
Create communication channels so that everyone in your organization knows what everyone else is working on. For example, use monday.com for project management and make project boards visible to everyone in your monday.com account. You can also create specific boards, such as a Weekly Updates board, to increase visibility across teams.
Enhance Communication in Your Remote Team With monday.com
Remote teams can communicate and collaborate better with the help of a platform like monday.com.
With the Updates feature, you can post entire conversations and share files within the context of a specific item. Notifications both within and outside the application ensure that you never miss messages and activities important to you. monday.com even lets you know if your colleague has seen your message.
Plus, even though your teammates may be asleep while you’re working, you can still easily find what they’ve shared through Search Everything.
See for yourself whether monday.com can make you a better remote team. Sign up for a free trial account. You get 14 days to test-drive the platform on a Pro account, which includes all of its features. This way, you can experience the full potential of monday.com for your team.