The Rapid Remote Debacle

As the world rapidly went from a face to face work environment to in many cases totally online a lot of details were missed.  Namely, how would the customer experience be affected if employees were not prepared to work remotely.  Not everyone was enthusiastic or even comfortable working online.

First was the arduous process of getting the technology to work correctly.  This presented a major hurdle for many employees like me that were maybe less tech savvy than they needed to be.  Then there was the issue of learning how to actually get work done with family and home distractions.  Hanging a sign on the door didn’t seem to work very well as everything became an urgent if they knew I was home.   Lastly, there was the fact that many people just are not comfortable working virtually.  In some cases, this created the perfect storm for stress and sub-standard performance.

If you are feeling less than confident in your work performance, you are not alone.  Read on and I will share a few things I learned in the process.

Communication is king!  Communicating online is a completely different process than communicating in person.  So many things can get misconstrued in writing.  Everything can become glaringly apparent.  Written communication requires the ability to write as if the reader doesn’t have a clue what you are talking about.  Details are critical.  The trick is to not come off as condescending.  Tone is the hardest part of written communication.  The reader cannot use body language to interpret your meaning.  Since the majority of communication happens through nonverbal cues it is vital to read all texts, emails etc. for tone before you send it.  If you are rushing to get it out, make sure you do not appear harsh or curt.  That will blow up quickly and everything said in the communication will be lost.  “People will forget what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” M. Angelou.

Collaboration in a remote environment can be complicated.  This is compounded if you are remote and some employees are still working onsite.  Remember that a team includes all members of the team not just the ones you see.  Be sure to ask yourself, who else needs to know this.  Zoom gatherings that includes all team members are a good way to stay connected and make sure everyone is included in the daily activities and decisions taking place.  You do not want the customer to feel as though no one is in charge.

While these obviously apply to your workplace, they also apply to friends and family.  Make sure you are clear with them about your work schedule and what constitutes an emergency and would require your assistance.  For those with small children, I know some people are employing childcare in their homes to help out while they work.

Collaboration has never been more important for families than it is right now.  I know prior to remote work I was a person that would rather do it myself than ask for help.  That stopped real fast when I started working from home.  Now we all contribute to the household. There is a new rhythm and to be honest it feels much better, at least for me! 

I hope you were able to take away at least one nugget from this to make your remote work something you will love. 

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