Voice mail

  • Check your voice mail daily and call back within 24 hours.
  • If you cannot check the voice mail, speak a friendly message that you have limited access.
  • Speak slowly and clearly when leaving messages for others.
  • Say exactly and clearly what you need until when.
  • If you leave your number, leave it complete with the country code at the beginning and end of the message.

Email

  • Check your mails daily and answer the important mails within 24 hours at the latest.
  • If you do not have the possibility to check mails, use the “Out of Office” message (without limited Access).
  • When you send a “cc” message, you assume that the “cc” receiver only considers it information and does not react.
  • Keep in mind that e-mail messages can be very short and narrow.
  • Be careful in your choice of words.
  • Do not write an email if you are angry, but wait a day and rephrase it.
  • Do not use e-mails to discuss personal topics or send sensitive information.
  • Use a subject line that describes the content.
  • FYI means that the email is not urgent, but contains something important that you should read.
  • URGENT FYI means that you should read the information immediately.
  • Call if a topic goes back and forth more than three times.
  • Always check your email for spelling.
  • Send appointments via the calendar function and not via e-mail.

Instant messaging

  • Log in when you come into the office.
  • Use the “Logout” or “Busy” function if you are not available.

Mobile

  • Switch to vibration mode during meetings.
  • Only accept the call if it is very urgent.
  • Use this medium if it is acceptable to both sides.

Audio and video conferencing

  • All participants welcome those present when they join the conference.
  • Say your name before communicating content.
  • Use the “Silent” button when someone is not speaking.
  • Avoid side calls during a conference.
  • Ask for repetition if you do not hear or understand something.
  • As an invitee to the conference, you should be there earlier to keep the technology stable until everyone else joins in, so as not to waste any time.

Organization of meetings

  • Be on time.
  • Use all relevant time zones for your meetings and rotate them.
  • Agree on a time specification to which all are aligned (e.g. CET).
  • Take a longer break every 60 – 90 minutes.
  • Let others finish.
  • Let the moderator do his job and respond to his requests.
  • The agenda should be sent at least 48 hours before the meeting. The protocol is the more or less completed agenda.
  • Slow down your speech rate and give time for questions if you have language problems.

Teamwork

  • Do not discuss long documents with the whole group on the phone. 1:1 meeting, and the content will be forwarded to all.
  • Keep to agreed times when documents must be passed on.
  • Observe confidentiality rules.
  • Review the collaboration process and implement regular reviews.

Decisions and problem solving

  • Use team interests and goals as a basis for decisions and problem solutions.
  • Keep local interests and those of the entire team in balance.
  • If advice is needed, first see if there is an expert on the subject in the team before going outside to obtain information.
  • Try to act by consensus.
  • If this is not possible for good reasons, other decision-making paths (expert decisions, voting, etc.) should also be considered.

Conflict management

  • Solve conflicts according to your guidelines.
  • Do not try to resolve conflicts via e-mail. Call the person or speak directly to them. Always speak with the affected team members first, never with superiors or other team members first.
  • Use a known conflict resolution process.
  • Conflicts are part of everyday life, don’t dramatize them.
  • Be attentive in order to recognize conflicts very early, because they become visible in virtual teams rather late. Do not wait until tension builds up.