Workplace communication and the ethics and best practices around the same have always been an important part of the organizational culture. In fact, it is one of the most primitive training programs that new employees go through after they join an organization. There are do’s and don’ts and a number of protocols that are to be followed while communicating with your peers, seniors, clients and anyone and everyone working with and around you.
Remote working, especially the full-fledged one caused by the pandemic was very new to several organizations and employees across the globe. Before the pandemic, several organizations offered work from home, more as an employee perk or a benefit. Now that we are into a full-blown culture of remote working, the dynamics of workplace communication have changed. The HR and people manager teams are now facing the challenge of keeping employees together, virtually and ensuring proper workplace communication skills are established catering to remote work is a necessity.
If you are someone who wants to develop their interpersonal workplace communication skills as a remote employee or a manager looking to imbibe the right workplace communication culture for your remote teams, read on.
How to develop proper workplace communication skills while working remotely:
Understand the limitations
This is the first and foremost point- to be understanding. Remote work is not the same as work from the office, especially for employees who have constraints of space, have young kids at home or need to give special care to someone elderly in the family. Be considerate of their availability and always schedule a call or a meeting beforehand. Take into consideration their schedule and don’t press them to be available at your schedule. Understand if there are background noises and try to make it work.
A little understanding goes a long way.
Find a quiet space for meetings
In support to point number one, employees on the other end of the spectrum should not take their coworker’s virtue of understanding for granted. Make a dedicated office space where the noises can be kept to a minimum or at least find a quiet space for the duration of the calls and meetings.
Make a schedule and communicate it
To avoid overwork and work-life imbalance, it is best to create a work schedule, just like you would have when you were working from the office. Make your work schedule, most suited around when the rest of your team works and communicate it to everyone who is associated with you. This will help you to draw lines between work and personal life and your coworkers will also be able to communicate with you within your available times with ease.
Understand different preferences
The more is not the merrier unfortunately when it comes to the number of communication tools that are available to our disposal today. Understand that while some might take a WhatsApp text related to work seriously, some might need a confirmation over an email. Some might prefer to quickly get on a call to discuss while some will be perfectly comfortable by doing so in written format.
Note your coworkers’ preferences and stick to it. If your organization has one dedicated tool for team communication, this is most likely solved but it is always better to be sure.
Work on your writing
To be able to communicate your point with ease and perfection, being clear, concise and correct with your writing skills is important, especially when working remotely. You don’t want your email or message to cause confusion hence make sure you write properly. Seek the aid of a grammar checker and have that cleared at all times. Make sure your tone while writing is not offending, commanding or disrespectful and read aloud your email before sending.
Do not read between the lines
This is to avoid any misunderstandings between you and your workers. Always start by assuming a positive, affirmative tone and don’t try to overthink what the meaning of an email or a message could be. When in doubt, be open and ask instead of assuming the worst and letting it impact your work relationships.
Keep the human touch
However important the tasks at hand might be, understand that you are not working with machines but the people behind it. With remote working, establishing the human connection might be difficult but make sure you try your best. Always start with appropriate greetings, ask how the coworker is doing and whether it is the right time to talk. Be patient with their responses and do not send continuous messages.
Be presentable for video calls
Working from home for most of us means working out of our pajamas and why not- considering the comfort they bring. But when you are attending a video call with a coworker or a client, make sure you are presentable, dressed appropriately and look fresh to address their concerns and agendas. Looking like you just woke up is not professional and can lead to disinterest in your recipient.
As we move towards an era where remote work is going to be more or less a part of every organization’s culture, it is important to hone your communication skills as a remote worker and stay on top of it. This will not only make you likable in your team but will also help in getting things done without hiccups.