With the spread of the corona virus, many companies have turned to telecommuting. Many of these businesses have not had experience in this area before. Obviously, in such a situation, the challenges of telecommuting will show itself. The most important challenge is not only technical issues, but also the complexity of human communication. In this article, we will first talk about these challenges and then suggest 5 simple ways to reduce them.
Challenges of telecommuting
With the spread of the corona virus in the world, many small and large companies have turned to telecommuting; But telecommuting, with all its benefits in this crisis, also creates its own challenges and problems.
These challenges are usually not technical; Because in most parts of the world, communication technologies have advanced tremendously. These advances have made it easier to communicate and interact in two or more ways in cyberspace. What is troubling is the complexities of human communication. To better understand this, consider the following examples:
- At 10 pm, you will receive a work message from your co-worker. Do you think that he should not have waited and sent messages during working hours tomorrow morning ?!
- After a busy day, your manager will send you an email asking you to list your expenses. A job that you are aware of and that you are offended by his involvement in a minor job.
- You are in a virtual group meeting. One of the members’ microphone is off. Maybe there is a technical problem. Maybe he deliberately turned it off to get to work!
Examples like this show why communication in the virtual world can easily lead to misunderstandings. The reason for these misunderstandings is that in such communication, an important element is missing: body language!
When we meet someone in person, their tone of voice and body language give us information about the meaning of what they are saying; But in virtual communication, especially textual or audio only, we do not see a person’s body language. So we may easily be misunderstood by the other party.
On the other hand, poor spelling and grammar-related errors can lead to misstatements in a text message, which in turn can lead to misunderstandings and misunderstandings.
If we do not have the right strategies and rules for how to interact in cyberspace and solve these challenges, group members’ relationships will be quickly affected and their efficiency will decrease.
Types of distances in telecommuting
Before presenting solutions and methods, you should know that in telecommuting, there are three types of distance:
- Physical distance: Distance of members from each other;
- Operating distance: Differences in the level of communication facilities and members’ skills in using the equipment;
- Value distance: Differences of members in the level of dependence and mutual trust of members to each other.
Your main task as a group manager is to reduce the value gap between group members; This means that you should try to make your company members show the same behavior in telecommuting interactions, just as they do in the real world.
To begin with, it is best for members to communicate with each other through video calling; Because seeing people’s faces increases the level of trust. Also, by planning virtual sessions, you can increase the level of intimacy and communication between members. This will make the members more familiar with the behaviors and the way each person speaks and writes in cyberspace.
Five ways to better interact in telecommuting
By doing the following, you can greatly reduce telecommunications problems:
1. Speak clearly, not concisely!
One of the most common mistakes is to shorten sentences and words to save time. This, while seemingly speeding things up, causes the recipient of the message to misunderstand. The best way is to spend as much time as you can on the clarity of your speech before you want to discuss misconceptions with group members later.
2. Stop bombing!
Are you one of those people who, when you entrust a task to someone, constantly ask about the different stages of doing it ?! Another mistake made by group managers and leaders in the field of telecommuting is to follow too much and obsessively. True, this can be bypassed-but not unless you’re a techie who knows what he’s doing.
3. Create standard communication methods!
Telecommunications companies need to find ways to interact faster and more transparently. This is possible by designing acronyms. These words are made up of a set of initials (headings) of several words. Each company and group can have their own acronyms that are easily understood by all members.
In addition, identifying the same methods for sending and receiving documents improves group performance and order; For example, agree in your group through which software and communication network all work documents should be sent.
In smaller groups, people can talk about their personal preferences and make them clear to other members; For example, when they respond to business calls.
Determining these cases play an important role in increasing the speed and transparency of telecommunications.
4. Discover the hidden opportunities in text communication!
Remote video communication is not necessarily convenient for all groups and individuals. Maybe there are people in your group who are introverted and prefer to communicate through writing. Use writing skills to interact with introverted members or to overcome cultural contexts that limit the use of video calling. An important advantage of this method is reducing staff stress in video calls and saving time. When using this method, you should pay attention to the following points:
- Pay attention to grammar, punctuation. Sometimes an unwarranted exclamation mark can lead to a major misunderstanding.
- Read the messages carefully again before sending them.
- Ask the recipient of the message if he or she has any questions or concerns about any part of the text.
5. Create intimacy!
Teleworking does not mean that your communication with group members is limited to your field of work. You can increase the intimacy of group members by setting up non-working groups or by developing interesting methods such as creating custom emoticons to encourage active members. Try to bring the hearts of the members closer together.
Telecommuting is a low-cost method that helps businesses stay afloat in situations like today. However, the challenges of human communication increase with the advancement of technology and the rise of virtual communication. The solution to this problem is not only to raise the level of technology, but also to understand the new language of dialogue and interaction in this space. By applying and practicing the methods introduced in this article, you can create a better relationship between group members in telecommuting situations.
If you have similar experiences with telecommuting challenges and solutions to them, let us know in the comments section.