Some of us have been working remotely for over a year at this point, with coworker interactions taking place through a screen. Sure, we’ve been communicating, but just how effective has communication been? Have you ever found yourself zoning out during a video meeting? Or attempted to multi-task, working on other projects while on a conference call? Maybe you’ve used instant messaging or sent an email when a phone call could have resulted in a faster response? If you are guilty of any of the aforementioned, it’s likely you could use a refresher on how to achieve effective virtual communication. Here, we have compiled some do’s and don’ts to ensure you and your team are engaged and effective communicators while working from home.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Communication
- Turn on your camera. We get it, you may not have showered, you may not want your boss to see you in your baggy sweatshirt and your house may be a mess. But sharing your body language and likewise seeing another person’s is important to achieve effective communications, helping to convey intent. We’re not saying you need to throw on a suit and tie for every video call but keeping your camera on will help others better understand what you are saying, show that you are engaged in the conversation and keep you more focused during meetings.
- Stay focused. Moving right into our next point, stay focused on the meeting when you are in one. If you were sitting in a conference room having the same meeting in person, you wouldn’t be looking through social media or checking emails. Give the speaker the same courtesy you would give them if they were right in front of you. Minimize all other screens and make your video call the size of your screen to limit other distractions or temptations.
- Don’t leave the meeting unless you have to. Although it can be tempting to get up in the middle to grab a cup of coffee or make some lunch during a virtual meeting—don’t. Again, if you wouldn’t do it in an in-person meeting, don’t do it during a virtual one. Granted, if your child has stuffed a towel down the toilet and your bathroom is flooding (it happens, believe us) running off the call to prevent water damage or to attend to a similar emergency situation is acceptable.
- Be understanding. This leads us to our next point of being more understanding. Some people thrive while working remotely and have been living their best lives for the past year while others are feeling isolated and depressed. Be understanding should someone need to move a meeting due to childcare issues or if they can only chat for a half-hour rather than an hour. Everyone has had to adapt in one way or another and could use some kindness and understanding.
- Get personal. One Gallup poll found the optimal amount of time to work from home is 3–4 days a week and suggests that the 5 days most of us have been working can lead to low employee engagement and isolation. During this time, be sure to make time to ask about peoples’ lives. Check in on their health, their family and their pets just like you would if you were grabbing a cup of coffee in the breakroom.
- Learn each employees’ preferred communication method. Knowing the best way to communicate and motivate each of your employees is even more important when they’re remote. We can help with our Performance Dynamics® process, an assessment that consists of three personality inventories designed to identify traits that drive personality and behavior. In reviewing the results of the assessment, you both will better understand your own strengths and communication styles, leading to more effective communication, even when it can’t be face-to-face.
- Continue team building when remote. Just because you aren’t in the same office doesn’t mean you aren’t members of the same team. Building a bond through team-building exercises can help you uncover the skills and talents of members of your team. We can help customize and conduct team-building workshops and leadership development sessions to help your team work together more effectively.
We can help your team become effective virtual communicators and set you up for success. Contact us to learn more about our services.