Thankfully with technology we have more tools than ever at our fingertips. Working on a team and an entire office remotely, may present different challenges to those who were accustom to reporting on location every day. Since everyone is in the same boat, it’s good to practice empathy. Offering understanding and kindness while companies are short-staffed, and people are stressed is often the helping hand needed.
Not sure what tools are best for you and your team to effectively communicate during COVID-19?
Video ConferencingUsing video conferencing allows you to see someone’s face, their facial expressions, and hear the tone in their voice. Here is a short list of video conferencing systems: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans
IcebreakersBeing remote means there’s less chance to strike up casual conversation. Start meetings with an icebreaker question, such as “What is your favorite food?” and “Which song can you listen to all day long?”
Informal ChatIn an office you can lean over to the desk next to you for quick small talk about topics other than work. That same energy can be kept through messenger apps like Google Hangouts or Slack.
Phone CallsDon’t ever underestimate the power of a phone call. Sometimes sending emails or text messages back and forth can leave a lot lost in translation. Picking up the phone and talking through what’s needed provides clarity.
CollaborateWork on the same files, so you can see edits made in real time and feel like you are together working, side by side. Google Docs and OnlyOffice are great for this.
AvailabilityIt’s important to keep the same hours as you would in the office. This allows work flow and communication to go smoothly, but also reminds you to disconnect once the day is done. Now that you are working from home, it's important to keep a balance between when you are working and when you are not.
CommunicationWhile on the topic of being available at your regular hours, its important to communicate. Respond to emails and messages with “I have received your message” or “Ok. I will get back to you” so there is the same instant response as in person.
ConsistencyMake it a point to get in contact with your team daily to remind each other you are all an important member.
VisibilityUpdate your team with what you are working on so everyone is aware of what’s going on.
UnderstandingRemember, you may be working apart, but you are all working together towards the same goal!
Microsoft is making Microsoft Teams free during this time making it easier for everyone to stay in touch and connected. Microsoft's Teams Available For Free
And check out this article from FastCompany on tips for staying mentally healthy while working from home during these times. How To Maintain Your Mental Health While Working From Home
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