The self-focused, independent nature of telecommuting makes productive, efficient communication with remote colleagues of the utmost importance.
Before you send your next email, utilize these quick tips for improved communication:
Avoid mood transference. Telecommuters primarily communicate via email and instant messaging. And while these methods eliminate the daily grind of onsite water cooler gossip, the absence of face-to-face interaction also means remote workers aren’t privy to experiencing the body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice of those with whom they communicate. As such, we should all be more mindful to read and understand professional text literally for what it says, instead of applying our own attitude to a co-worker’s email or instant message.
Ask questions. When instructions are unclear or information is missing from correspondence, you must ask questions. Failing to seek clarification or further understanding will force you to make assumptions, and in the words of Lemony Snicket…
Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble.
Putting all your eggs into the assumptions basket will compromise your integrity, a project, or your job.
Don’t hit “Send” when you’re emotional. Responding to an email when your judgment is clouded could spell disaster for your working reputation and relationships. Even if you were approached from a place of hostility, don’t reciprocate ill feelings. Instead of hitting “Send” when you feel angry or frustrated, save your email as a draft and review it later when you aren’t ruled by your emotions.
Stay positive. Constructive criticism shouldn’t be taken personally. Feedback from your managers and co-workers is meant to improve your performance and the overall functionality of your company; therefore, adopting a positive approach to virtual office correspondence will keep lines of communication open and professional morale high.
On the opposite side of the coin, if you are responsible for providing feedback to others begin the conversation with notes of praise, rather than a laundry list of wrongdoings. Your employees will be much more inclined to take your direction if you stay positive.
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