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Talk more, type less: Talking on the phone is good for you

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/talk-more-type-less

bigthink.com

Talk more, type less: Talking on the phone is good for you
As working from home continues, encouraging employees to adopt good habits in connecting and communicating could improve both well-being and productivity. Research has found that even talking on the phone is better for people than always typing emails or using instant messaging. Learn more in this article.

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Too shy to talk

Too shy to talk

Fear holds us back from forging a bond. People tend to choose to speak to people through emails and text because they feel that actually talking to them would be awkward and that they could be misunderstood.

However experiments show surprising results: "People reported forming a "significantly stronger bond with their old friend on the phone versus email, and they did not feel more awkward".

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Changes to the workflow

  • 42% of Americans aged 20-64 earning more than $20,000 were working from home full-time in May 2020.
  • However, the lack of communication and collaboration are made known to be the biggest challenges of remote workers.
  • As remote work continues, it is important to encourage employees to adopt habits that would be beneficial to both the employer and the employee.

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The Joy Of Talking On The Phone

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The Therapeutic Effects Of Phone Calls

  • Talking on the phone feels like a better, more satisfying connection, as much as it has been awkward for many, who were used to passive or async (text and email) based communication.
  • Giving compliments to each other over a phone call has a therapeutic effect that makes both feel better.

The challenges of hybrid teams

The challenges of hybrid teams

Most companies embracing remote work also have dedicated headquarters. But remote-ish teams have even more communication and collaboration challenges than fully remote teams.

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Remote-friendly vs remote-first

The single biggest mistake companies can make is to opt to be remote-friendly instead of remote-first. Companies often accept the idea that remote is the future of work without creating an inclusive culture to ensure it works for everyone.

  • Remote-friendly environment: Employees are allowed to work remotely, but work is not optimized for it. There is a disconnect between office and remote employees and team meetings exclusively occur in a co-located time zone. Water cooler chat is a space for key decisions and presence is correlated with meaningful work. Communication is synchronous-first. Managers must work in the office.
  • Remote-first companies: Employees are empowered to adopt remote work. Real-time meetings are kept to a minimum and recorded. Decisions are made online and performance is measured by output, not by hours worked. Communication is asynchronous-first. Managers are encouraged to work from home.

Connecting a remote-ish team

Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.

Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.

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Working Remotely

There is ongoing turbulence in the workplace due to the uncertainties provided by the new virus, resulting in a whole lot of people working from home. Normally the work-from-home policies are esta...

Common Challenges of Remote Work

Even high-performing employees can face a decline in job performance and engagement when working remotely. This can be due to:

  • Lack of face-to-face supervision, which leads to a two-way communication gap and even mistrust.
  • There is a delay in the procurement of information as remote workers aren’t able to sense the atmosphere and real-time events at the workplace, leading to a lack of ‘mutual knowledge’.
  • A sense of isolation among remote workers, leading to a feeling of less belongingness within the organization.
  • Distractions at home due to unplanned work-from-home transition, with employees balancing childcare and many other responsibilities along with work.

Improving Engagement And Productivity

A few specific, research-backed steps that can be taken to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees:

  • Establishing Structured Daily check-ins, by establishing a daily call or touchpoint.
  • Providing several different communication technology options, using virtual communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc., and making use of video conferencing.
  • Establishing clear rules of engagement for communicating with the coworkers or the managers, according to the levels of urgency.
  • Providing opportunities for remote social interaction by talking about non-work activities, thereby reducing the feeling of isolation among remote workers.
  • Offering encouragement and emotional support by listening to the workers, acknowledging their stress, and keeping their needs and issues in focus.