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How to Avoid Miscommunications During Remote Work

How to Avoid Miscommunications During Remote Work

With many businesses having to close their doors for the time being in response to COVID-19, many have started to see remote work as a preferable alternative to stopping their operations completely. Of course, as this is the first time that a sizable portion of these businesses have ever used remote employees, communications have suffered somewhat.

To help prevent this from being the case in your business, we wanted to share a few practices that will help you to more successfully integrate remote work into your organization.

Communication Is (and Isn’t) Easy

If a business is in operation today, it’s a safe bet that their employees each have their own email account for the business. Email usually serves as a good foundation for a business’ communication strategy, as it is a convenient means of communicating internally, with any vendors you are working with, or with your clients. However, email isn’t perfect. There is the chance that miscommunications can occur when using email—and on a related note, instant messaging—and ultimately derail your productivity.

To help prevent this situation, it is recommended that more complicated communications take place using video conferencing. Combining webcams and microphones, video conferencing allows people to interact with each other in a format that provides non-verbal cues that written correspondence and telephony just don’t express. With the right solution, meetings and discussions can be held between parties in different postal codes practically as if they were in the same room. Therefore, it can be considered best practice to have a comprehensive assortment of collaboration tools at your disposal for use in different circumstances.

Etiquette Matters

When communicating within a team, it is important that a certain level of decorum is maintained. For example, important conversations are not the place for redundancy. If a conversation drags on for too long or has far too many irrelevant details that drown out the important ones, the people who are supposed to get the message are far more likely to miss it. Make sure your team is subscribing to the KISS principle as much as they can when they are sharing important information with one another.

Sarcasm also doesn’t translate well in many methods of communication, so avoiding its use is best, especially when remote work is involved. If someone misses the joke, it could create serious issues in your company culture and/or your productivity.

On a related note, insist that your team keep important conversations free of jokes, memes, and emojis. Even if Grumpy Cat had some amusing commentary to offer that summed up the gist of your conversation well, there is the risk that the testy tabby will distract from an important detail.

Make sure that any messages you share with your team are also very easy to understand, and if you receive some that aren’t, don’t be shy about asking for clarification. For collaboration to work properly, the right information needs to be passed along efficiently and comprehensively. This also makes proofreading especially important. Spending a few extra seconds to go over what you’ve written to make sure that there aren’t mistakes, omissions, or other factors to get in the way of what you’re trying to say helps keep you from having to backtrack and explain things again later.

This can also keep incorrect presumptions from influencing the results of your efforts.

Remote work can be challenging to adapt to, but the right tools and behaviors to facilitate communications can simplify things considerably. For assistance in setting up the communication solutions to make remote work a feasible option for your business, reach out to BNMC by calling 978-482-2020.

 

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