Are you struggling with navigating the pandemic workplace? Business communication has become more difficult as we all try to figure out the future of our work environment.
You’re probably part of a hybrid workplace.
Some are working remotely, some splitting their time between a home office and the bricks-and-mortar business, some are back full time. Teams are disconnected and probably unsettled.
You might want to go for a drink after work but worry about who might infect you.
It’s complicated. But it’s manageable.
5 Tips for Effective Business Communication
Leaders and employees can find a way to create healthy communication in the workplace, even in this pandemic environment. Here are five steps you can take.
1. Prioritize communication
Whether in or out of the office, everyone – and I mean every single person – is facing a challenge. They’re concerned about something and have no firm idea when this will be over.
So, begin where you are, and go out of your way to connect with your colleagues, despite social distancing.
2. Make time for your team
As a leader, staff are looking to you for guidance and reassurance. So, set aside time with staff. Allow everyone to “get together” either in-person on days when employees can schedule time in the office or virtually.
At the beginning of meetings, conduct a quick ice breaker, for example: In 10 seconds, name one show you recommend streaming and what it’s about.
There are no lengthy descriptions, just “Ted Lasso, about a college football coach who goes to England to coach a pro soccer team.” You can get my free two-pager on 30+ workplace ice breakers here.
3. Make time for individuals
Whether you have a team of 20 or one direct report, schedule some one-on-one time with them. Make it a point to catch up personally and on work projects. Ask how they and their family or loved ones are doing and how they’re balancing work and personal life.
Trust me, everyone is dealing with something, and employees need to know you care. Show you care by asking.
No need to get too personal, but asking is key, even if the response is minimal. Then, walk through their work projects and find out if they need anything from you to accomplish their tasks. Help them succeed.
4. Maintain relationships
Peer-to-peer relationships are integral to effective business communication. These are your work buds! So, spend some time chatting in the doorway or your workspace, learning about weekend activities, podcasts, music, sports, projects, challenges, or whatever you might have in common.
If you’re working remotely, you might want to try scheduling a 15-minutes catch-up via Zoom or FaceTime. Make time to form bonds.
5. Keep your boss posted
Many of you are working remotely, so your boss isn’t down the hall. The worst thing you can do is go silent. If you don’t connect, you don’t exist.
Let them know by email about your activities, so there’s documentation on your progress. It will help you when it comes time for a performance review and keep the lines of communication open.
Make a point of scheduling time to discuss work issues and challenges. Effective business communication starts with effort. Do not assume that emailing, texting, Slacking, or whatever short messaging service you might use is communication.
It’s not. It’s one-way outreach, and little emotion is conveyed in the written message. And, you don’t know if or when they see your note. Prioritize meeting voice-to-voice and face-to-face, whether that’s virtual or in-person.
The bottom line, when we know more about each other, we grow to like each other. And when we like each other, we work better together.
So whatever your job title, take responsibility for communicating with those around you, above, below and sideways.
Barry Moline is a 25-year CEO and author of Connect! How to Quickly Collaborate for Success in Business and Life. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you improve your business communication:
- How to Give Effective Feedback
- Connecting At Work While Social Distancing
- Let’s Emotionally Connect While We’re Social Distancing