19 March, 2020 | Rebecca East

The Power of Conversation

Thanks to digital, we now have so many ways to collaborate with our colleagues, whether we’re in the same room or on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Email, Trello, Slack, Basecamp, WhatsApp are all going to prove extremely useful in the coming months to bring teams seamlessly together on projects they’d usually be working on in the same room.

But they can’t replace conversation, especially between managers and employees.

Speaking to someone face to face is very different from firing off a few notes or sending a reminder to the group chat – seeing and/or hearing someone is vital to effectively read the person you’re communicating with.

Some people will deal better with working remotely than others. Some will struggle with loneliness, or anxiety about the situation. Others will find it hard to adjust to collaborating virtually and not having those quick coffee break catch-ups to talk through a project. But these issues aren’t going to come up in an email, or on the group slack.

Managers need to keep having conversations with their teams, even if they can’t sit down together in the same room. Here’s how you can get more out of remote working conversations.

  1. Video calling is your friend. Yes, we know nobody really likes using the camera, but face to face is so important to stay connected and gauge how people are coping emotionally, not just practically.

  2. Keep one-to-ones going. Now is not the time to let these slip – people will need reassurance, motivation and a chance to talk openly more than ever. Up the frequency, if needed while people adjust.

  3. Use a platform to keep on track. If your managers haven’t remote-managed before – or at least, not at the same scale or length of time – it can be a daunting prospect. If you have OpenBlend, use it now more than ever to underpin your managers’ conversations as their teams work remotely. Having actions and accountability that’s visible to both parties will highlight home-working issues much more quickly, and allow managers and employees to take the steps they need to overcome them.

  4. Ask the right questions. Productivity is important but don’t let this become the main focus of every conversation. Remember to ask those deeper questions about how people are coping, what new challenges they’re facing and how their drivers have changed. These questions will do more for productivity than ‘have you finished your list yet’, trust us.

And if you want to have a conversation with us about implementing any of the above, whether you have OpenBlend already or need a tool to help you through this period, give us a call on 01628 613 040, or email hello@openblend.com. OpenBlend can be installed and implemented remotely, so you can start helping your managers and employees straight away.

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