In the realm of working remotely, what’s the most common experience: “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” or “Out of sight, out of mind?” Most of the workforce is still figuring it out. This year, many people made the transition from the tradition of offices and cubicles to living rooms and Zoom meetings. Remote working only will increase in popularity, so learning to communicate without seeing people in-person will be an important skill. Are you finding it difficult to collaborate with your remote team? You’re not alone, and our hosts David Grasso and Julia Sun discuss key advice to make sure you find the right balance.
Work on your virtual communication
Communicating in-person is much easier than through a computer screen because you can pick up on social cues, conversational pauses and body language. When you’re on an audio or video call, you have to speak slower and clearer and not talk over the other person. We’ve all experienced the chaos when more than one person speaks at the same time in video meetings. It’s easier to get cut off and silenced over distances. So remember that on virtual calls, you don’t have to fill every single moment with your voice. Mute your microphone when you’re actively listening to others speak. A nod or thumbs up are great replacements for a “Yeah” or “OK” that may interrupt someone’s point. And when you have a point to make, don’t add unnecessary fluff. Allow people the space and opportunity to give you feedback.
Plan times to collaborate
Burnout can be a big detriment to working remotely. How could your efforts be contributing to a co-worker’s stress? It can be difficult on a video call to read someone’s mood or expressions. But calling a coworker out of the blue creates chaos in their schedule. They may not be in the best place to talk at that moment, so they may feel unprepared and therefore unproductive. If you need to talk to someone, schedule a meeting so they can plan. Ultimately, the best approach to collaborating remotely is empathy. Communication works best when people feel that you care.