Communication Protocol (AKA Keeping Comms High)

Communication Protocol (AKA Keeping Comms High)

According to the book Remote, 80% of workflow communication does not need an immediate response.

If you work in a traditional office setting, think about how many interruptions you have to navigate on a daily basis. And there’s very little triage of the requests. In other words, “Hey you want a coffee?” is given the same importance as “Hey, we’re about to lose our biggest client, get on the phone now!”

In that example, I guess both are important.

This 80% of non-urgent communication can be responded to within 24 hours via email. The key is to train your team to use email for these requests. Then keep your email decluttered so you can see what’s important. Or use the ever-evolving VIP tab in Gmail.

The next 15% of communication can be shifted to SMS or messaging communication. These are discussions that need a within the hour response. Two team members can message back and forth for a few minutes and get things straightened out, clarified, insight into a particular question, etc.

Example via Whatsapp:

“Hey, where’s the file XYZ?”

“It’s in the 2015 Projects Folder.”

“Thanks, did you see the game last night?”

“Yes, it was crazy…”


And then lastly, there’s this thing called the telephone. You may have heard of it. You can use the call feature for immediate, dire, pressing issues (which not even 5% of most work communication is).

When building a team, implement this protocol. Your team will be more productive, happier, and communicate more effectively.

  • 80% email & non urgent communication methods (Slack posts, Email, Post-It notes on their computer screen, whatever).
  • 15% WhatsApp, iMessage, IM, Google Talk.
  • 5% Telephone call.

Bonus: this works amazing if your team members begin to work remotely or travel frequently. You can keep forward progress rolling and comms stay high.

You’re welcome!


(photo via twose)