Remote working throws many challenges that some of us have not faced before, and communication is key, now more than ever.
Whether you are communicating with your team-mates, managers, partners or clients, these eight tips will help you get your message across with the best possible outcome when working remotely:
- Provide context – As you may still be working from home and can only communicate virtually, it’s essential that the communication being sent and received makes sense to all parties. Context deepens the understanding of the message and avoids confusion.
- Proactively answer questions – Anticipate what the inevitable questions may be to what you are communicating and ensure your message is clear, complete and relevant.
- Consider your tone – think about how your tone may come across when communicating via email or chat. Stop and re-read before sending to ensure tone is not lost or misinterpreted. Equally, when receiving an email or message from a colleague, assume it is coming from a good place.
- Use video calls rather than phone calls – Visual cues such as body language and facial expressions are lost over phone calls. You can’t currently walk around to speak to someone at their desk or office so we encourage you to use video platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Skype for Business to communicate with your team members.
- Communicate your schedule to your colleagues and clients so that they know when to reach out to you. Enter your breaks, lunch and meetings in your calendar for visibility with your team (where appropriate) and activate out of office messages when you are not available.
- In group virtual meetings, be mindful and inclusive – A crowded video call can make it difficult for people to share their opinions. Actively encourage everyone to get involved.
- Be time conscious – It’s easy to think that email or chat is the most efficient method of communication, but with virtual teams, that’s not always true. Email chains can take days to play out, especially when you are unaware what your team members’ or your clients’ working arrangements are during these times. A simple phone call or video chat can often get you to a solution faster.
- Be responsive – as a business, you have expectations that all internal and external communication is responded to in reasonable time. Microsoft Teams chat for example, is intended to be responded to quickly. Emails may be more lenient with response time but must still be within company specified timeframes. If you are unable to answer questions that are asked, let the other party know why it is taking you a while to respond and when you are likely to get back to them. Clarity is essential.
If your business needs further guidance on how to operate your business remotely or if you wish to speak with one of our experienced HR consultants at Allan Hall HR, please do not hesitate to contact us.