Remote work communication and boundaries?
Remote work communication and boundaries: Isn’t it funny that for many only a year ago the idea of remote work was an aspiration for many whereas today remote work is actually a necessity for many employers and employees alike.
COVID19 has introduced us all to extraordinary times.
On the face of it it’s easy to assume that having to work remotely is hardly a disaster, what with the convenience all of a sudden of being able to walk down the stairs to work and saving all that time wasted on travel etc etc.
But such sudden changes to your working life has its many challenges too leading me onto the issue of communication and boundaries.
When working from home, your clients may worry about whether they’ll be able to get a hold of you, or much more of a problem may be that they will assume they can get a hold of you at any time of the day or night – and that’s stressful big time!.
People can be unreasonable as a fact of life and some if let will think nothing of ringing you at 11 pm at night, with something that’s not at all urgent and could have waited until the next morning. Allow it with no boundaries and you encourage it by default.
Remote Work – Communication
The problem in some ways nowadays is that it is just so easy to communicate remotely and in so many ways.
From email to Skype, Zoom, Messenger, WhatsApp and so many more apps not to mention project management tools.
Difficulties emerge because people all have their individual preferences and indeed tend to use a few forms of communication.
The risk is that the message can get lost in the clutter.
Is that important email buried in a chain in a cluttered inbox?
“Zoom has reported a 169pc year-on-year jump in revenue after the global shift to remote working led to a surge in customers.”
― Silicon Republic .
Did the boss see that important text when his phone ran out of battery power or he or she left it at home?
Determine how you will communicate with your clients and colleagues or the office. Ideally, this is a decision you’ll make in conjunction with your client or employer based on preference and availability. Choose one or two of these as a primary and emergency communication method:
- Video conferencing using tools like Zoom or Skype
- Private messaging through social media
- Private messaging through project management software
Remote Work – Boundaries
Working from home means clients and remote workers can either think of each other as unavailable or available all the time.
It’s up to you to create a balance that works and fosters healthy relationships with your clients in these key areas of communicating with boundaries:
- Be clear when you are available or not – and save for an emergency stick to it
- Define how you will communicate in an emergency
- Start your day by checking for any messages and respond to them – it reinforces that you do not ignore messages