Among its many societal impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted work communication habits. A recurring theme is the challenge of no longer having the informal, spontaneous discussions that would otherwise organically spring up when employees bump into coworkers in the shared spaces of their workplace.
At the same time, you might feel like communications are coming at you from all directions and through all sorts of platforms. Check out five tips below to boost your communication with your team and find the right balance in your mix of communication types, both structured and unstructured:
- Maintain your regular check-ins with your team.
- This could be a daily meeting that kicks off everyone’s workday, or a weekly check-in during which you can reflect on successes and brainstorm solutions to challenges.
- This will help you maintain and strengthen the bonds you have built with your team.
2. Identify which channels to use for which types of communications, and make sure everyone on your team follows the same guidance.
- There is a lot of information to monitor and digest on any day, between email, chat, virtual bulletin boards, project management systems (with their own chats), and other content delivery methods.
- Perhaps use email for more official communications, and one-on-one chats for conversations that don’t need to occur via email.
- For conversations that need to be memorialized, remain easily findable, and require input from many individuals, consider posting them to a virtual bulletin board.
3. Mute notifications selectively.
- Keep notifications on for the platforms where your most important communications take place. For example, if email is how your supervisor notifies you of new tasks or important updates, keep email notifications on.
- If frequent pings from your chat platform are too distracting, change the settings so that new chats remain highlighted when you maximize your chat platform window, but all sound alerts and on-screen notifications are muted.
4. Translate how you used to communicate with someone in the office, to how you could communicate with them while working remotely.
- If a question can be taken care of through a quick typed chat, stick with that.
- If, however, it is a matter for which you would have walked to their desk to discuss in person, check your colleague’s availability and hop on an audio or video call.
5. Face-time matters, but not always.
- While video calls don’t entirely replace face-to-face interaction, they help to maintain a sense of connection while we are physically distant.
- However, not every call needs to be a video call. Ask yourself, does this conversation require that I be able to see the other person’s facial expressions and reactions? If not, an audio call is sufficient, less stressful, and saves bandwidth.