Businesses are now settling into the “new normal” of the pandemic. It’s a transitory time full of uncertainty and change, especially regarding workplace communications and collaboration.
The pandemic greatly accelerated both digital transformation and cloud adoption, with many businesses rushing into deployments and adopting new tools and strategies to maintain business continuity.
Now that we are in the latter half of the year, it’s a good time to do a communications gut check to make sure that all systems and processes are working optimally and serving the organization effectively.
The New Normal Tips & Tricks
Here are some tips to consider, based on some of the feedback that we have seen throughout the pandemic.
Scale Back Meetings When Possible
Following the pandemic, meetings spiked across the board, with one-on-one meetings increasing by 18 percent. Managers are holding more video meetings than ever to keep team members engaged, which is proving to be detrimental in some cases — contributing to video conference fatigue and time waste.
Leaders should remember to embrace autonomy, and avoid unnecessary video conferences throughout the week. This can reduce burnout and increase output. Just because employees are at home, doesn’t mean they are always slacking off or misaligned. Trust is critical in any remote work arrangement. Plus, many meetings can be streamlined using chat or email.
Discuss Collaboration As A Team
The pandemic also led to a spike in third party app usage. Administrators should now be talking to employees about the collaboration apps they are using, to see whether they are helping or hindering productivity.
It’s also a good idea to talk to employees about the technologies they want to be using daily. For example, a persistent messaging tool could prove to be very useful for certain groups.
Set Acceptable Use Policies
The pandemic has changed the way that teams are communicating. For instance, instant messages have increased between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight, which is an indicator that employees are working longer days with less rigid schedules.
Managers should spend time determining acceptable use policies to govern communication while working from home. Some companies may be perfectly fine with messages running 24/7, while others may prefer to keep after-hours communication to email to respect privacy. It largely depends on the company’s culture.
Offer Flexible Communications
Workers should have a variety of communications options at their disposal, and the freedom to choose their preferred tools. For example, some workers may want to capitalize on the surging video call trend, while others want to go back to using traditional voice services. A unified communications platform can give workers the freedom to choose what works best for their needs.
If there is one thing we can’t stress enough, it’s that businesses should be fluid about their remote work policies. Companies should use this time to continue experimenting and working to enable an optimal remote system. Administrators should also regularly check in to make sure company policies are in tune with worker expectations.