Why writing is important for remote work?
Jason Fried (CEO of Basecamp), Nathan Barry (CEO of Convert Kit), and other CEOs of multi-million dollar companies champion the “Writing is important for remote work” advice.
After running multiple remote companies for the last 2+ years, I agree. Here are the four reasons why:
1. You promote inclusivity and collaboration
By design, remote employees work across different time zones. So, even after trying, you can’t host a meeting that matches everyone’s work timings. And if you still proceed further (with only a few people), you’ll cause chaos all around because only a few will have the updates.
This will slow down the company’s collaboration speed (not all will know what happened and what to do next) and make the rest of the employees feel ignored.
Writing is the antidote to this.
When you write your company protocols, crucial decisions, and meeting notes, you ensure anyone can access the information (and stay updated) without being present at the time. As Jason Fried says, “speaking only helps who’s in the room, [but] writing helps everyone.”
Now that everyone is updated, it makes collaboration easier.
2. You can refer to it anytime
Remembering what you have to remember is a productivity killer. For example, say you were assigned responsibilities during the video call, and now you have to remember the nuance details until the deadline. You’ll be more focused on remembering those things in the meetings and afterward—-paying less attention to the conversations.
But, if you knew the meeting facilitator would send you a copy of written recaps (that included your responsibilities), you would pay 100% attention. So, even if you did forget a few details of the conversation, you can refer to the written notes anytime—thus saving time and completing the assigned tasks.
3. You’re accountable
People do sometimes forget what they said and what they didn’t. In such cases, if you’re saying one thing, but the other person is saying something different, no one can verify going back to the past, which breeds mistrust.
But, when you’ve said something through written communication and forget, everyone can go back to the conversation and sort the matter. This way, you avoid a blame culture, solve the problem fast, and move on.
4. You’re thoughtful in providing responses
Writing improves your thinking process because you now have to state your ideas clearly and back your arguments with data. Otherwise, the other person won’t understand what you want to convey.
This will encourage you to improve your critical thinking and responses. You’ll go beyond vague descriptions to research, reflect, and find the words to help the other person understand what you want to convey.
Be a writing-first remote company
Ask your employees to use writing as a default communication medium. Start with writing a draft that teaches how to communicate using written communication, and share it with everyone. By being writing-first, you’ll save information in one place and avoid confusion (anyone can figure out what was said and what wasn’t).