The pandemic both challenged and revolutionized workplace communication. From new software to flexible working, here’s what we’ve learned.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted communication in workplaces around the world.
Once upon a time, communicating with a team member was a simple case of walking over to their desk and starting up a conversation. Not anymore.
With hybrid working, working from home and flexible working all becoming mainstays of workplaces worldwide, workplace communication has been forced to adapt.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the lessons we’ve learned about communication in the workplace during the pandemic.
Technology is key
The pandemic has been a stark reminder of how important technology is for workplace communication.
In fact, 86% of employees cite the lack of effective communication as a key cause of workplace failure.
With so many people now working remotely, it’s essential that businesses have the right tools in place to enable their employees to stay connected and productive.
There are a number of different ways to achieve this, but one of the most important things is to ensure that everyone is using the same platform.
This can be something as simple as using the same chat software or video conferencing tool. Having everyone on the same page makes it much easier to communicate effectively.
The pandemic taught us that just because we might not be in the same room as our colleagues, it doesn’t have to mean the end of face-to-face communication.
Although we’re now used to communicating online, there’s still nothing quite like being able to talk to someone and see their reactions.
That’s where video conferencing software comes in. Regular video calls or meetings ensure everyone stays connected and staff are able to get some much-needed face time with each other.
Hybrid is Here to Stay
The pandemic has forced many of us to re-evaluate the way we work. For some, this has meant working from home full-time, while others have had to juggle a hybrid model of remote and in-person work.
One thing is clear: the traditional 9-5 office job is no longer the only option. And for many people, that’s a good thing.
Working from home has a lot of benefits, including increased flexibility and fewer distractions.
For many workers worldwide, hybrid working models have transformed their work/life balance and employers have no choice but to offer it as standard practice.
The key to implementing a hybrid working arrangement that’s successful long into the future is to set clear expectations and keep communication lines open.
The pandemic taught us that hybrid working models can work, providing communication lines are open.
When you’re working with people in different locations, it’s important to set clear expectations from the start. Make sure everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are, and how they should communicate with each other.
When it comes to workplace communication, trust is everything. In the midst of the pandemic, when so much was uncertain, trust helped everyone keep going.
We needed to be able to trust our colleagues, our leaders, and our organization as a whole. We needed to feel confident that we were all working towards the same goal. And we needed to know that we could rely on each other when things got tough.
Those needs are still as important today as they were back when the pandemic first started in 2020.
The pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone, and it has definitely tested our workplace communication skills.
Those employees who feel like their voice is heard are five times more likely to feel empowered to deliver their best work, so ensuring you’ve placed trust in your colleagues to communicate effectively is key.
Through it all, we have learned that trust is the foundation of any successful team or organization.
Being Flexible Sets You Apart
We’ve all had to be more flexible the past few years. With work, with our kids, with our schedules. It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve learned that being flexible is key to keeping things going.
The pandemic has forced us to rethink the way we communicate at work. We can’t always be in the office, or even in the same country as our colleagues. We’ve had to learn to be flexible in how we communicate, and that’s something that will set us apart in the future.
Hybrid working means that you won’t always be working at the same time or in the same place as your colleagues. Learning to be flexible therefore has been essential, just because you’re at your desk and checking emails doesn’t mean your colleagues are.
Having flexible communication options, such as allowing employees to join conference calls remotely and giving each member of staff a work mobile, helps to not only improve the communication across your business but also set you apart for prospective new starters.
Those looking for new jobs in 2022 are looking for companies that can be flexible with how their staff communicate and work with each other. Companies that are unwilling to adopt new ideas simply won’t attract the best talent.
Of the 125 companies surveyed, a huge 94% stated that they will continue to work in a hybrid/remote way, long after the pandemic is over, highlighting how the pandemic has taught everyone the importance of flexibility.
There’s No Such Thing as Over-Communication
Covid-19 has been a harsh reminder that workplace communication is vital to our success as businesses and organizations.
We’ve learned that there’s no such thing as over-communication in the workplace.
In the age of social distancing, we’ve had to get creative with the way we stay connected to our coworkers. We’ve been using video conferencing, instant messaging, and group chat platforms more than ever before.
And while it’s been a challenge to adjust to this new way of working, we’ve also learned a lot about the importance of clear and concise communication.
The pandemic has taught us that we need to be more intentional about the way we communicate with our employees. We need to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and that we’re sharing the most important information in a clear and concise way.
We’ve also learned that we need to be flexible and adaptable in our communication strategies.
Another key lesson from the pandemic is to encourage open communication.
Asking for feedback and input from your team members will help to ensure that everyone feels heard and valued.
This is especially important when working remotely, as it can be easy to feel isolated.
The bottom line is that the pandemic has taught us the importance of effective and accessible workplace communication.
We need to make sure that we’re communicating frequently, clearly, and effectively in order to run successful businesses in the post-pandemic world.
About the Author:
Lucy Nixon is a digital marketing consultant and copywriter with almost a decade of experience in helping brands of all shapes and sizes to curate their online presence.