In today’s ever-changing world, remote work is a concept that is becoming a more common and accepted practice.
While safe and, at times, convenient, remote work still comes with its challenges.
While working remotely, direct verbal interaction may be limited, leaving teams to rely on email or chat, which may not allow them to connect on a personal level. Written communication, such as email, can sometimes be misinterpreted, especially when dealing with a mistake or issue on the job, potentially causing unnecessary tension.
Remote employees may also feel they have limited support while trying to quickly get answers to something they’ve come across in the field, which can add stress to their situation.
With many of our Penmarc employees and contractors working remotely, we wanted to provide tips on how to properly engage with and show empathy toward those working remotely.
Make it a point to converse with remote employees regularly
Whether over the phone or by email, when communicating with someone working remotely, try to add a personal connection before getting to business. Ask how they are doing or how their week is going.
When conducting meetings, try to use platforms such as Teams or Zoom, ensure the cameras are on, and encourage participation from everyone.
When in a video meeting, be sure to listen and allow everyone to have a turn speaking, use simple statements to confirm understanding, and be genuine and provide honest feedback.
Show the employee you are invested in their work
Whether someone is working remotely or not, it is important to share roles and responsibilities to help better understand each other’s challenges and how you’re both impacted by them.
When speaking with those working remotely, try to ask questions that show the remote employee that you care about their workplace challenges and that you are there to help them.
Examples of this include questions like:
“How is this issue affecting you?”, “What support do you need?”, “What would be an ideal outcome?” and “Is there anything I can do to help your situation?”
Be vulnerable and share similar past experiences that show you are relating to the current challenge. Be sure to always follow through on commitments and encourage cross-departmental collaboration when possible and applicable.
Embrace an Attitude of Gratitude
When communicating with someone working remotely, make it known that you are happy and eager to help with any questions or concerns they may have. Remote work can be stressful, and the last thing you want to do is make the employee feel like they are a burden.
Seek to understand ways to better support one another, learn to walk in the other’s shoes, and celebrate even the small successes. Make it known that their work is key to everyone’s success and that you are happy to be involved and helpful.
Be positive and enthusiastic in your responses. Always let them know that you appreciate their effort, and be sure to express gratitude toward the employee and their work.
Remote work can present many obstacles and challenges, but it doesn’t have to. Follow these tips, and create a workplace chemistry that can overcome any obstacle!
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