The desire to feel connected to others is a basic human need, but that can be difficult in the increasingly virtual world right now. As some companies embark on a gradual move back to the office, many others plan to continue remote work until 2021. As remote work becomes more commonplace, it is important to keep in mind the technology we use to connect can also create separations between the humans using it. With communication through in-person meetings, check-ins and spontaneous hallway and breakroom conversations becoming less of the norm for now, we need to emphasize how to maintain the human element of person-to-person virtual communication.
When working online, people often shift from one extreme or the other – too little or too much communication. This is something that happens naturally, but it is not always easily noticed or conveyed. This is particularly true with virtual interactions that flatten the subtle changes in tone of voice or nuances in body language that assist in creating positive communication.
Alleviating these mysteries often requires asking more questions of peers and co-workers to determine if everyone is on the same page. This will help in deciding if alternations in work styles are needed to meet individual and collective communication and work goals. Healthy relationships are best built and maintained on a foundation of respect, understanding and truth – creating a positive environment for better communication, collaboration and improved productivity. And do not forget to add a healthy dose of emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence in 5 Easy Steps
Show Empathy through good listening, being slow to judge and showing compassion for people and situations
Demonstrate Motivation with an awareness of how personal actions contribute to long-term success
Exhibit Self-awareness knowing how your own feelings and emotions impact others
Display Self-regulation asking how words, an action or a decision could create a ripple effect
Use positive Social skills including strong communication, collaboration and teamwork
Ultimately, it is up to everyone to communicate what works best for them and determine how that plays out within the group dynamic. Plus, the strong relationships built online will soon have an added benefit when transitioning back into the office. Lastly, keep in mind that everyone is spending more hours than ever in front of screens and could use a little grace in navigating our frazzled world right now.