Best tips for effective communication during COVID
Let’s remind ourselves about the ways that we should all be communicating to execute successful projects. COVID 19 has called for some ‘new’ work methods, however, these are all methods that Objective Experience uses on a daily basis already.
Consulting with clients
Stay connected with clients and project team members so that the level of service experienced by clients is high.
- Use different mediums – Use email, Slack, video conference, mobile, text appropriately to maximize your engagement/impact. Be mindful of the frequency of communication across the week.
- You can invite your client teams to communicate in real time – on specific Slack channels or WhatsApp groups set up for them. This will help maintain business as usual and enhance the experience by forming a single team, that’s easy to do business with, in a virtual office.
- Offer to setup video conferencing meetings for clients. If they are not confident teach them how to setup and use preferred video conferencing tools. Being helpful, facilitating and encouraging people to use technology successfully reflects well on you.
- If the client or supplier has organized a video conferencing meeting and they are not using your preference e.g.: hangouts make sure you install and test their chosen video conferencing tool (e.g. Zoom, Skype for Professionals, etc.) a good 30 minutes prior to the meeting. There is nothing worse than sitting around waiting for someone to setup when you should be talking business.
- Prepare a clear agenda, bearing in mind that meetings can be much quicker online.
- Find out who is attending the meeting and their titles, write down attendees and distribute a contact report at the end of the meeting. Contact reports are really important devises which will help drive the momentum through assigning the agreed responsibility of completing work tasks in a timely fashion.
- Find ways to make sure the client knows you are available from 9 to 5:30 Monday to Friday and that they are front of mind. So be proactive with picking up phone and setting up video conferencing. Do not wait for them to call you.
- Go the extra mile for your client, find ways to complete little tasks for them that are easy for you to do quickly. This removes any perception of the service level dropping off with you working at home. However don’t do stuff that’s not relevant, only be helpful with things that help you complete your own tasks. e.g. reaching out to the clients internal staff to organize meetings.
- You can use courier services to send physical documents, gifts etc.
- If you must meet in person, consider large open spaces outside (weather permitting).
For your staff
Make working remotely enjoyable for your employees!
- Hold meetings with your team first thing every morning. Use this to discuss what you will each be doing today. It kick starts the day nicely and helps with problem solving. You can do this on Zoom or with simple updates on slack or similar tool.
Updates should include the following:
- I am feeling …
- I’m working on …
- I have issues/need help with …
- I have time available (to help others or support internal OE growth) at …
- Be disciplined with breaks – When you’re alone it’s too easy work too hard! It’s easy to fall out of bed and start working and still be sitting in the same spot 5 hours later still wearing your pajamas. Try to take a break every hour. Go make a cup of tea, go for a quick walk around the block. Play some music. Switch your environment up by changing locations.
- Don’t feel guilty about using your new-found liberty to create a positive work routine. One that allows a little playtime and attends to life’s little chores e.g. go for a run, playing with the kids, connecting with your friends. As long as you’re delivering good work to your clients and you’re supporting your teammates to be their best and everyone is happy, then WFH affords you a lot of liberty – remember you’re saving time on travel and no one is around to judge.
- Don’t get lonely – ever! Keep talking with your team and clients daily. Only use emails for official document sending.
- Stick to agreed meeting times, never be late.
- It’s important to have a comfortable, distraction-free environment to work from. This is mostly up to personal preference – some people work great sitting on their couch, others need a dedicated desk and chair. Noise cancelling headphones are useful and sometimes invaluable. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, let us know and we can work around it.
- A stable internet connection must be available at all times either via home ISP or broadband. Mobile hotspots are preferred over public WiFi for improved connections and security. Ask your staff if they need help with this.