The past year has shone a light on outdated workplace communication methods as we move to more remote working situations. New ways of working require new ways to communicate. Here are some ways you can shift your mindset and skills into the current climate.
#1. More Curiosity – Less Judgement
When you are faced with challenges or something that requires more information, dig deeper and ask questions before jumping to conclusions. It is easy to start looking for who to blame or figure out where the problem started. However, focusing on the solution is much more effective. This also goes for establishing clear expectations and timelines FROM THE BEGINNING of a project.
#2. Diversify Your Communication Style
We all have our habits and things we are comfortable with. However, recognizing that everyone has their own preferred workplace communication style can go a long way to improving your own communication. Reading the room, asking questions, listening attentively, applying assertiveness when necessary, using fierce negotiation, or expressing compassion and encouragement. These are all useful in different circumstances. The ability to know when to use which ones is truly a sign of great communication.
#3. Flexible Meeting Times
So many people have moved to remote working or flexible work times to accommodate these weird pandemic times. Your standing Friday morning zoom call might not work for everyone anymore. Checking in with your team and being open to moving things around can help out your entire team – especially those with young children at home.
#4. A Healthy Division between Work and Life
If you are working from home there can be a tendency to be hyper-vigilant about workplace communication and a need to prove you are working and being productive. It is still ok to stick to normal business hours for work-related tasks. You do not need to answer every email, text, and ping that happens outside of work hours – just like you would if you were working in the office. Establishing healthy boundaries between your work time and your personal time will actually improve your communication – not hinder it.
#5. Check-in With Your Colleagues
Working remotely does not give us the opportunity for daily chit-chat with our co-workers as working in person once did. It is too easy to forgo this basic need for connecting with those around us and just get down to business. However, checking in with your co-workers on a personal level is crucial to good teamwork. It is also more important now than ever before, with the stress and changes the pandemic has brought upon our daily lives. A quick text or call to someone could make all the difference for a co-worker who is struggling with isolation, depression, or just missing their work friends.
How can you improve your workplace communication?
Which one of these five communication improvements are you going to try this week? You could even bring it up at your next team zoom call as a friendly discussion and team-building exercise. You may be surprised by what your co-workers have to say once you start being more curious and asking more questions.
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