Remote work has been increasing in popularity over the past several years (especially in today’s climate), and thanks to technology, companies have grown more flexible when it comes to offering remote opportunities to employees. We all know communication is key when it comes to working and collaborating with others, but how do we successfully communicate behind a screen?
Use technology to your advantage.
When working in an office, it’s easy to visit your coworker’s cubicle for a chat or set up meetings for longer discussions. The beauty of technology is that it’s everywhere! Online communication platforms make long-distance meetings possible. Aside from phone calls, you can use chat features for instant messaging and quick talks. For meetings that require attendance from multiple people, video calls are very effective.
Don’t forget to show your face.
One tip we highly recommend is turning on your camera during virtual meetings. When you and your team members can see each other, it creates a sense of normalcy as if you are together in person. Face-to-face calls not only help you stay more engaged in the conversation but also allow you to read body language and emotional cues, helping you understand one another better.
Set up audio and video beforehand.
Before joining a video call, it’s very important to ensure your mic and camera are working properly. Realistically, audio and video issues will happen from time to time, but they can be very distracting. Be certain to test your devices before meetings. If you are presenting, make sure you are able to share your screen without problems. Ask a coworker to help ensure you’re ready with a test call.
Remember the importance of non-verbal communication.
Did you know most experts agree that 70-93% of all communication is non-verbal? This includes things like facial expressions, posture, vocal tone, fidgeting, and body gestures. When on video calls, the biggest tip to keep in mind is to remember you’re being watched. Act appropriately and professionally. Be conscious of your body language and facial expressions. Actively listen to the person speaking and give them your undivided attention. When it’s your turn to speak, look into the camera and speak clearly. And when you’re not speaking, mute yourself to eliminate any disruptive background noise.
Clear the room of distractions.
If you have a dedicated remote workspace, distractions may not be an issue for you. For some, interruptions from family members and pets may be hard to avoid. Keep your family informed when you have important calls to make. You can even create a system to let them know when you’re busy, like putting a “do not disturb” note on the door when you’re in a meeting.