Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Internships and other work experiences

6 How to build relationships from a distance

Poor communication is often at the root of negative issues experienced in any workplace, but this is especially significant when remote working.

The next activity will help you to think about how you can encourage good communication from your colleagues.

Activity 4 Good communication

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes for this activity

Watch Shauna Moran from Operate Remote as she explains to leaders what is recognised as a key cause of frustration in remote teams.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5
Skip transcript: Video 5

Transcript: Video 5

Hi, guys. It's Shauna here from Operate Remote. And today, I want to speak to you about the number one cause of frustration that I see on remote teams. And that is not understanding what your expectations are and how you communicate them. So for example, what I often find with managers and leaders of remote teams is that they aren't fully aware of what they expect from their teams on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
This can be something as small as switching your video cameras on in a team meeting because this shows that you are engaged, bought in, and connected to the conversation that's happening in this virtual room. As a leader, I would say to you today to reflect on what those expectations are and then decide the reasons behind those expectations and how you're going to communicate that to your team. I'd love to hear your experiences below on understanding those expectations and how you've defined them for your remote team.
End transcript: Video 5
Video 5
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Now make a note of the ways in which you could help your ‘leader’ to communicate better.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


A key issue is lack of communication about key expectations, so you might have listed some of the following ideas:

  • asking your line manager or supervisor to clarify their expectations for your work
  • following up that conversation with an email summarising your understanding of their expectations and asking for confirmation that you have done so accurately
  • agreeing a daily or weekly point of contact where you can report on progress and ask for feedback/support etc.

In a workplace situation, both informal and professional communication are important in developing productive working relationships. You’ll start by looking at the benefits of informal interactions.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371