If you’re one of the 51% of employed Americans now working from home, poor virtual communication could be making your job tougher, creating more stress, and killing your productivity.
Here are 5 tips to help you improve how you communicate online.
Be Mindful of Your Time
Without the social side of being in an office, it’s easy for video calls to drag on longer than they need to or to get lost in chatting on your company’s messenger app.
Try to have clear agendas and cut-off times for video calls, and where possible, schedule time in your calendar for social calls and chats.
Remember Virtual Communication Isn’t Visible
Written tone is easy to misinterpret than when something is spoken.
When you’re putting something in writing for someone, it can be helpful to take a moment to see how the recipient might interpret it.
Likewise, you can’t physically see how your colleagues are coping or how they might be feeling. Showing some virtual care with regular check-ins that aren’t about work can help keep a strong team culture.
If possible, create a dedicated office or workspace at home which gets used exclusively for work. It can give you that feeling of going to work and leaving your personal life behind.
Also, use headphones to drown out background noise and help keep your focus.
Not only will this keep your thoughts clearer, but it might also stop you from wanting to get up as frequently.
Check Your Connections
There is nothing more frustrating than video calls where even just one person has a lag or shaky audio.
It stops a conversation from flowing, participants end up talking over each other and it usually takes more time and has less benefit.
Check your internet speed regularly throughout the day to make sure you don’t have any issues.
It would also be worth having a back-up plan.
If your internet access gets disrupted or if it happens to a colleague, having something to fall back on means you and your team can still work and communicate without much disruption.
Focus on Your Wellbeing
Remember to look after yourself too.
More virtual communication usually means more screen time, which can be both mentally and physically draining and put you off from wanting to even communicate with your colleagues.
Take breaks, rest your eyes, and move your body regularly throughout the day.
Not Just Work
If you’re working from home and feeling isolated, there’s a good chance your family and friends are too.
Apply the same mindfulness and approach to keep your social life as you do to improving online communication at work.
You may enjoy sharing some memes with friends you haven’t seen in a while or some encouraging quotes for seniors who aren’t as tech-savvy.
Helpful, Not Stressful
Increased virtual communication can feel overwhelming when you’re getting used to it.
With the right mindset and approach, it can help make your life easier instead of adding more stress to your day.
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