Tips to Help You Communicate While Working Remotely

Tips to Help You Communicate While Working Remotely

With the onset of COVID-19, millions of people found themselves working from home. And while there are many benefits to working from home, there are just as many challenges. One of the biggest issues is communication. The lack of face-to-face communication makes for confusion and complications. Find out some tips for effective communication when you work remotely.

1. Stop and Listen

When you do something wrong in the office, your supervisor can correct your actions before it's too late. However, you don't get that luxury when you work from home. You could spend hours working on something, until you submit your work and are told it's all wrong. For this reason, it's crucial to use your listening skills when working remotely.

When you have a Zoom meeting or a phone call, listen. Focus on everything the other person is saying, and don't let distractions keep you from hearing what's going on. You could miss some very important information. If there are too many distractions around your home, consider making a dedicated office or going somewhere with more privacy.

2. Have Open Meetings

When one person is doing all of the talking, they often go unheard. This is because the individual can't hold everyone's attention. To keep everyone listening, you need multiple speakers and audience participation.

If you want to keep people listening and stimulated, you should do open meetings. Although one person is the primary speaker, everyone should have an opportunity to speak. Give each person a chance to express their thoughts and feelings. In addition to paying more attention, the participants will be able to contribute more. This could improve productivity and solve problems more effectively.

3. Use Humor

Humans are social creatures. When forced to work from home, people often get overwhelmed by the isolation. They feel distant from their colleagues and could feel like their creativity is stifled. Additionally, interpersonal relationships can suffer when people switch to working from home.

By using humor, you can prevent this from happening. You can socialize with your coworkers as you work from home. In your emails, banter with your colleagues. When you do have meetings, take the opportunity to make a joke. While you should still be professional, use humor when the time is right. It’s about finding the right balance.

There’s another benefit to bringing humor into the workplace. When you add humor to the mix, you improve workplace relationships. People take constructive criticism better, and it’s easier to complete projects. Sarcasm and jokes are excellent tools for improving communication.

4. Send Confirmation Emails

Although you may rely on Zoom, Slack, and other platforms for communication, email isn't outdated. The problem with other platforms is that there's an opportunity for technology to fail. If you message someone on Slack, there's no way to guarantee that they saw your message. To make sure your messages are being seen, you can send confirmation emails.

Sending a confirmation email provides a "paper" trail. While someone might claim you never said something on a Zoom call, they can't deny the email sitting in their inbox. Your emails also limit the chances of miscommunication. If there's an important date or message, you should reiterate it in an email.

5. Offer Training

During the period of remote work, offer training to your employees. Whatever type of training you choose to offer, be sure to keep it entertaining. There's a common misconception that training is always boring. But thanks to videos, graphics, and gifs, training can be exciting.

Think about what type of training would benefit your employees the best. To improve communication, ask your employees about their training wants and needs. You can even choose your most promising employees to lead training sessions.

By offering training, you allow your staff to know what's acceptable. There's no reason they shouldn't know about certain policies or expectations. As long as they received the training, your employee will have a clear set up rules to live by.

6. Create Scheduled Hours

When it comes to your workday, you need a firm schedule. If you don't have a strict working schedule, your communication will suffer. Employees may not know when to contact you, and this could result in questions going unanswered or important issues being ignored. Make sure you work during set hours, and your employees know when to contact you.

It's equally important to ensure that your employees work set schedules. If your employees work varying hours, they won't be able to communicate effectively. Phone calls and chats will be difficult to organize.

7. Give Feedback

With remote work, feedback is key. Your employees need to know how they're doing. If they aren't meeting your expectations, you should tell them. But if they are getting the job done, be sure to give them positive feedback.

When you are critical, be specific. Instead of telling your employee that they're not meeting your expectations, tell them how they're failing you. Try to incorporate some positive points in with your critical points.

8. Use the Right Technology

If you want to have good communication, you need to use the right technology. For most industries, cell phones and email won't allow for clear communication. You may need easier ways to get in touch with your employees.

Try out different technologies until you find the right one, or the right combination, for your needs. Since COVID-19 has forced many people to work from home, new technology has become available. Consider which programs would allow for crisp, clear communication.

Some programs, like Asana and Basecamp, make it easy to delegate tasks. Other programs, like Zoom or Skype, make it possible to hold meetings.

Once you pick your communication tools, make sure your employees have access to them. You should also be certain they know how to use the tools. Don't be surprised if you need to offer some training, or if you have a learning curve. When you do, working from home will be better than ever.

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