Hello CCW Digital Community! I hope this post finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. To say that we’re living and working through unusual times is an understatement. As many of us (myself included) adjust to a new reality of daily working from home, I wanted to share a few communication tips that I’ve found to be effective over the past 30+ days: The New “How are You?”
As Matt Wujciak, CCW Digital's digital marketer and research analyst recently stated:
"One of the most wonderful things about working from home is that you have more control over your work schedule, including how you chose to go about it, and how you chose to communicate with your co-workers. 55% of people reported increased levels of stress due to their daily commute, according to a report by the UK Royal Society for Public Health, as cited in Forbes. Use the extra time to provide transparent communication and collaboration with your teammates, even in a digital environment."
“How are you?”--three words that up until now have been an opening question or greeting now have a lot more weight when said to colleagues or customers. The answer is likely changing daily, if not throughout the day, depending on the physical and mental health of your teams. Take the time to ask and actively listen to the response to this question at different points throughout the week.
If possible, consider having individual or team catch-up meetings where the only topic is covering “how are you?” You or your colleagues may not always have solutions available, but there’s comfort in sharing each other’s challenges. There’s also the opportunity to humanize yourself by disclosing your own personal challenges, which creates an environment of trust and transparency.
The More the Merrier
Since how we’re doing--individually and collectively as a team--in these uncertain times is ever-changing, increased communication has become a necessity. We’re not walking past our teammates and reading body language, or running into one another on a coffee run. As we all work from home, opportunity for spontaneous communication has dwindled.
So make your communication plentiful and deliberate: send chats or emails just saying hi to those colleagues you used to run in to at the cafeteria; schedule a virtual coffee or happy hour with peers; extend your weekly one-on-one meetings and/or schedule additional sessions throughout the week to ensure you have enough time to cover business as usual conversation as well as how your teammates are doing.
You can also use this as an opportunity to learn more about each other personally by offering virtual tours of your respective home offices, or to invite pets or kids as “guest speakers.” The agendas can be short, detailed, or nonexistent but the more of them, the better in order to remain as engaged as possible and maintain your professional relationships.
One Channel Does Not Fit All
Along with having as many opportunities to connect with one another as possible, experimenting with as many channels as possible can also be helpful. Slack is particularly useful for connecting teams and individuals around the world, and for allowing teams, projects, regions, and interests to be categorized. Sharing information or asking questions in a channel may be more effective than actual meetings for some teams (especially those in different timezones).
If a meeting doesn’t require screen sharing or the reviewing of documents, suggest a virtual walking meeting with a colleague that you can each take on the phone from outside your respective homes. It’s amazing how a change of scenery can impact your conversations, and spending more time outside (while still practicing safe social distancing) is definitely a perk of working from home.