How to Communicate Effectively in the Hybrid Workplace
How Do Employers Communicate Effectively in the Hybrid Workplace?
- Create and share agendas. Guidelines that outline the topics to be discussed keep meetings on track. Well-crafted agendas can also be easily converted into meeting minutes — establishing a record of items discussed, team members’ assigned tasks, and issues to be followed up on.
- Schedule regular meetings. Establishing a regular meeting time can help teams stay accountable and keep workers in contact with managers who can support them in times of need. Individuals and teams will have different regular meeting needs (for example, some teams may meet once a week while others may benefit from a daily check-in), so flexibility and attention to context are crucial.
- Choose synchronous communication channels for brainstorming and handling sensitive topics. Face-to-face communication, whether in person or via video call, is especially useful in contexts that require sharing ideas among team members. Creative brainstorming meetings, and emotionally challenging topics such as sensitive discussions about performance, are best handled in a format where tone and body language can be seen and heard. In this way, synchronous communication channels can help prevent miscommunication and ensure everyone is on the same page.
How Do Employees Communicate Effectively in the Hybrid Workplace?
- Collected and stored emails and time-stamped chat messages can serve as records of project start and end dates, providing built-in data for tracking progress.
- Digital technologies, such as integrated calendar systems and project management software, can provide insight into employees’ daily, weekly, and monthly productivity — making it easier for workers to demonstrate their contributions to long-term projects.
- Remote work spares employees an average of 70 minutes per day, according to an October 2022 study by WFH Research. Less commuting time and less time spent getting ready for work means that employees in hybrid workplaces save hours each week. With extra time, employees have more opportunities to rest, reflect on their work, and think strategically about their long-term career goals compared to those working solely in an office.
- Try out conversational apps. Conversation apps and software add-ons that prompt workers through daily or weekly conversation questions encourage employees to build rapport and engage in a low-stakes chat environment. For example, an app that prompts employees to share their favorite places to eat or their unusual skills can spark lively conversation and contribute to group cohesion.
- Deploy breakout rooms. During virtual meetings, breakout rooms that split larger groups into smaller teams encourage people who are less likely to speak up in large groups to talk to their teammates.
- Utilize in-office time. By scheduling regular in-person meetings (even just once a month or a few times per year) and celebrations, hybrid employees can reap the benefits of in-office work relationships while also gaining the benefits of remote work flexibility.
The Importance of Tone
- Limit multitasking. Trying to communicate while also listening to someone else or participating in another project creates opportunities for misunderstanding. Instead, managers should take the time to slow down and give their full attention to the message at hand.
- State intent. Leaders need to make each communication as clear and direct as possible. Using sentence stems such as “My intent is … ” or “My goal is … ” can clue readers in to the writer’s intended tone.
- Express gratitude and appreciation. Leaders should communicate necessary information while also expressing positivity and gratitude for the contributions of others.