By Dr. Patrick WiIta
Communication always has been one of the most important leadership tools for managers and business owners. With more and more people working remotely, business leaders might find that augmenting their communication skills helps their employees feel confident and motivated towards shared company goals. Here are some ways to supercharge your business communication in the era of #workfromhome:
When an employee or team member reaches out with a question or request for guidance, waiting for a response could be anxiety-provoking. With everyone working together in an office, the physical closeness affords a feeling of comfort and cohesion on an unconscious level. Working from home, individuals may feel adrift. Replying to emails from your employees quickly or participating actively in a group chat can help them feel anchored and lets them know you appreciate their diligence and dedication to team goals.
Know your people
Some employees are going to thrive with little supervision. You may take this opportunity to identify people for promotion to management positions as your business scales. Other employees may need frequent reassurance and guidance. If you’re being a good manager, you likely already knew who these employees were long before the pandemic emerged. Make use of the time you don’t need to spend with the self-starters to lend more support to the rest of your team.
As much as you love your dog, barking in the background can cause frustration and agitation.
Taking your work home with you necessitates bringing your home life to work. Know that all of your employees are having to cope with unavoidable distractions in this new environment. That dog barking in the background is probably just as frustrating to its human as it is to everyone else on the conference call. Taking some deep breaths and keeping your cool will earn you social capital with your employees and ward off burnout.
Make Face Time
Consider replicating the social aspect of the communal break room with a regularly scheduled, brief video hangout during business hours or perhaps a weekly video “happy hour” towards the end of the week to help your team transition from work-from-home to relax-at-home.
A big part of team communication is listening to feedback. Ask your employees for feedback on new dynamics or routines. If something’s not working, ditch it. Make a note of which changes have been most effective and you can start thinking of how to incorporate these into your workflow when everyone is back in the office.
A phone call can’t replace face-to-face. Make sure you smile and replicate your in-person connection as much as possible.
Patrick WiIta is a child, adolescent, adult and forensic psychiatrist. Due to the pandemic, he is providing services virtually using state-of-the-art telepsychiatry technology. wiitamd.com