Remote working. It’s become the new normal, we can all agree. There are very few of us who did not get to work from home during the pandemic. And even without the pandemic, remote working was already becoming increasingly popular. Increased flexibility, no commuting costs and a more relaxed environment are just some of the perks of the remote worker.
But for those of you transitioning to working remotely full time, or for those of you trying it out for the first time, you might find some drawbacks in terms of communication with the rest of your team. And this can be a tricky stumbling block for new remote workers. Especially with research on top of this suggesting that social support, such as close relationships with friends and peers, can comfort us from worries harmful to our health, workplace stress for example.
So how do we tackle this issue? How can we communicate effectively with our remote colleagues? How do we reduce the stress that can come from working remotely? Well, let’s find out!
Kindness. It’s a simple and easy way to bring people closer together. Also, for those experiencing social isolation, a study shows that ‘asking lonely people to be kind to others has significantly reduced the offerer’s feelings of loneliness.’
That’s crazy, right? The fact that a lonely person performing acts of kindness reduces their loneliness, rather than others being kind to that person. But it’s true! And social isolation is itself a big issue with remote working, with that same study suggesting that feelings of social isolation coincide with an increase in circulation of immature immune cells that travel to the brain and create anxiety.
So by being kind to all your peers, and not just the formalities of a working relationship, but actually showing your appreciation to an individual, via an e-card for example, can have a massive impact on the morale of a remote worker. Soon an online conversation behind a standing desk will be just as good as standing next to each other in person. And the evidence linked above actually shows that online acts of kindness, such as donating to a crowdfunding campaign, can be just as beneficial as face-to-face acts of generosity.
All of this kindness will create a positive atmosphere in emails, Zoom meetings and the overall remote working experience for you and your colleagues. It’s easy to forget the humanity involved when you’re looking at someone on a screen, but kindness is a way to show that we’re all people. Your colleagues will appreciate your kindness and respond accordingly, and your productivity as a team may skyrocket.
Have Good Resources
With the right resources at your disposal, you can communicate more effectively with colleagues. Excellent conferencing systems, strong wifi connection and a good phone signal are just some of the essential things you’ll need while remote working. If your remote colleague doesn’t have these things, be patient and try to help as much as you can. Try to use an instant messaging system, set up a whatsapp group and use a decent webcam and microphone where possible to maximize the conversation and the quality of the work you’re both doing.
It’s pretty difficult to be kind when you’re in physical discomfort. We’ve all been there: a sore back casting a shadow over our mood. It’s one thing when you’re in the office but another when you’re at home. Remote workers have the freedom to work where they want to, so why be restricted to your basic office chair that prioritises sitting over making sure your posture doesn’t cause you pain?
If you work on a laptop, maybe try taking your office fully remote by working in cafes or the park (if you have internet connection, naturally). Or if that’s not your speed, maybe migrate your working space from an office chair to the sofa, where you can sit back and relax. This energy will move into your interactions with colleagues, so if you’re more comfortable then your interactions will be more comfortable.
But maybe you prefer to stay professional in an office chair, but that back is really starting to hurt. Well there is a solution. Ergonomic chairs. You may have heard of them before, but maybe what you didn’t know was that they are specifically designed for ‘efficiency and comfort in the working environment.’ That’s from the dictionary, if you don’t believe me.
Or if you want to learn more about our products and how they can help you reach your professional goals, please contact us and we’d be happy to help.