Virtual Communication in Uncertain Times
Camille Cantrell | Georgia Oak Partners | June 16, 2020
The Brave New(ish) World of Virtual Communication
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit around the world this spring, many leaders were forced into a sudden, intense relationship with virtual technology to keep their teams together.
Many office workers will continue to work remotely until the COVID-19 crisis has fully stabilized, months or even years from now. Some teams—having demonstrated their ability to function and even thrive remotely—may not return to the office at all.
As the pandemic lingers and companies take steps toward a new normal, we’re seeing the benefits—and drawbacks—of virtual communication writ large. Good communication has always been critical. Good virtual communication requires a new set of norms and skills.
Lessons Learned & Gaps Identified
In part, the extent to which businesses had adopted remote work pre-pandemic determined the steepness of the learning curve. But even for decentralized, work-from-home veterans, the challenges with communication during social distancing have been numerous.
Examples of what not to do began flooding the internet almost as quickly as the pandemic began. Some have been a punchline: visible employee eyerolls as Zoom calls ended, a worker who took her laptop to the restroom without muting the microphone.
Individual foibles have served as comic relief in a time of crisis and transition. We’ve also seen more serious examples of trial and error, including sensitive conversations handled poorly and platform security concerns leading to disruptions.
But it’s important to note that not all virtual missteps make headlines. Remote work demands more of leaders, and many are struggling to navigate the new paradigm and the skill set it requires.
Where do we begin?
Going virtual fundamentally shifts how we take in information, including context and nuance, and how leaders share information with their teams. Virtual environments reduce the opportunities for informal interactions, which are critical for leaders to gather information and connect with teams.
When scheduling virtual meetings, make sure to provide the context and desired outcome of the meeting, even when a formal agenda isn’t necessary. Teams need to know if they’re participating in a brainstorming session, giving status updates or solving a specific problem.
The short answer: no.
While the new virtual paradigm will become more natural with time, leaders always need to intentionally provide efficient and effective communication. In addition to accurate and timely information, we need to build and maintain rapport and engagement in a time when a high level of trust is essential.
You’ll never cross-communication off of your To-Do List, because the ways to communicate effectively will never stop changing, and the need will never end.
HERE ARE SOME RELATED ARTICLES YOU MAY ENJOY
Doug Fisher | March 18, 2021 As we all know, 2020 turned the economy on its head and created an unparalleled demand for remote work across nearly every industry. Now that we’ve gotten through that initial, quick-fire change, the question is: “Is remote work here to stay?” We at GeorgiaOakPartners believe the answer is yes. […]
Sailfish Boats Manufacturing Headquarters to Expand in Grady County, Create 70 Jobs Atlanta, GA – Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced that Sailfish Boats will invest more than $1 million and increase their workforce by more than 30% as they expand their manufacturing headquarters in Grady County. This investment at Sailfish Boats and in Grady […]
Feb 16, 2021 – Aditi Consulting, a leading global technology solutions provider, announced it has raised capital led by private equity firm Georgia Oak Partners. The new capital will expand Aditi’s go-to-market efforts, and continued development of its service capabilities to help customers accelerate their digital transformation journey. Michael […]
Darren Miller | February 4, 2021 As our partners across industries search for ways to move forward from the trials and tribulations of 2020, we’re seeing an increased focus on developing and supporting people – well beyond the human resources function or the staffing industry. From technology, manufacturing and logistics, to hospitality and healthcare, human […]
As 2020 draws to a close—and we continue to grapple with the unique challenges and opportunities it has presented all of us—we at Georgia Oak Partners are pausing to reflect on our history as we gear up for the future in 2021. It’s the time of year to count our blessings, give back to others, […]