Communication and Empathy across Remote and Distributed Teams

A presentation at DevOpsDays Boston 2021 by Laura Santamaria

Over the past year and a half, the world went a bit sideways, and as a result, many companies went fully remote and are considering staying remote in some fashion. Some folks suddenly found themselves working remotely for the first time or working with teammates who have never worked remotely before, and that situation likely won’t change. However, working remotely means adopting different communication strategies and finding ways to empathize with coworkers without socializing or discussing things in person, and many folks still attempt to engage the same way as when they congregated in an office every day. The difficulties for remote and distributed teams around communication and empathy get even worse when tossing in high-emotion situations like incidents and being on-call.

Let’s explore:

  • how communication and empathy across remote and distributed teams is different than for in-person teams,
  • why these differences arise, and
  • what teams and individuals can do to improve communication and to create and maintain empathy on remote teams, from using communication frameworks to helping others learn how to empathize with you.