COVID19 has constrained most businesses all over the world to operate from within the confines of the home. Now, working from home has its own implications where the communication, if not addressed properly, can spring misunderstandings among co-workers. As a result, the desired business objectives are not achieved. No organization would want that, right?
Hence, it is crucial to have healthy communication among Co-workers. Here are some best practices that can improve communication while working remotely.
1.Define Clear Goals and Expectations at the Start: A good beginning is half the battle. Likewise, setting the expectation from co-workers and employees at the very start and ensuring that it has been clearly understood are essential to get the work off the ground in the correct direction.
2.Understand the Dynamics of the Working Environment: Unlike face to face interactions at office and workspaces, remote communication only over the phone leaves a lot to the benefit of doubt. As such, many a time, remote interactions can lead to miscommunication. For instance, if you are stressed, and a slightly different tone from a colleague unnerves you. It does not really imply that the colleague intended to be that way. So, a lot of assumptions on one’s part can blind one from the truth. It is best not to escalate the situation.
3. When in Doubt, Ask: When in doubt, find out. Simply ask. It is better to have crystal- clear clarity at the start than assume and work, only to find oneself back in square one.
4.Watch your tone: This is a fundamental aspect. Of course, what is communicated is important. However, how it is conveyed becomes the deciding factor as to how the listener at the other end will perceive and interpret it.
5.Encourage Feedback & Discussion: It is important to encourage remote working colleagues to ask questions and provide feedback. Establishing a comfort zone through open communication channels makes it easy for them to be on the same page. These factors help minimize the room for error and improve communication between remote workers.
6.Communicate via Right Media at the Right Time: Knowing which medium to use for what communication and to whom for maximum efficacy, saves time, the most valuable resource.
For instance, a simple phone call can clarify a matter in minutes instead of having to draft a lengthy email. Of course, it depends on the gravity of the subject!
7.Prioritize Video Calls: In times of social distancing and remote working, interaction without any face-to-face meetings can make people feel a bit distant. It can be overcome by scheduling video calls. Make it a standard practice to schedule a short call at the start of the day to have the entire team together. This activity sets the tone for the work. Similarly, having a closing call at the end of the day to review the progress and achievement for the day, can help in fostering team unity.
8.Avoid micromanagement: Less is more. Once the expectations are communicated at the start of the day, let employees get back to you. You would want more of constructive action without interruption, right? Sometimes, over-communication is as bad as no communication because it can leave the others confused with the message diluted.
9.Minimize the Risk of Interruptions: It may not be possible to know if you are interrupting the other person at work. So, unless it is an emergency, do text and find out availability or when they can get back.
10.Be proactive and mindful: This helps in being on top of the game. Knowledge is knowing what to say, and wisdom is knowing when to say it. Get the checklist right - Know what to communicate, how to communicate, when to communicate, and to whom you are communicating with – this will get you sorted and keep you organized.
Communication is an art. It is a bilateral channel of information flowing simultaneously between the sender and the receiver. These essential work-from-home communication tips can significantly help in improving the team spirit and performance.