For many, working from home has been an adventure. A lot of workers were moved off site during the pandemic and now, a year later, are just now settling into working from home and the new expectations that this brings. People just had no idea how their job would change over the time they are away from their office. Today, we take a look at communications fatigue and what your business can do to help your remote workers from feeling overwhelmed.
What Exactly is Communications Fatigue?
You know the dozens of emails, instant messages, and video conferences that you have to manage in the normal course of doing business? What if a situation came up that made those multiply by two, or by three? People that are working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen this very thing happen over the past 13 months and some people are just so fed up with it that it makes showing up for work (even if it is in their pajamas) a grind.
Today, dealing with messages seems to be half of a person’s job. This is not a great situation for an employee’s productivity, or their clarity of mind. In fact, if you were to ask your average remote employee, especially those who basically never worked remotely before the pandemic hit, how much of the communications they get each day actually pertain to their role in the company, you would be shocked to discover that it is a very low percentage.
This all adds up to communications fatigue. Sitting in video conferences and virtual meetings that don’t pertain to the work you do can get tiresome and even maddening. It has proved to break down workflows, kill productivity levels, and cause burnout in employees. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that companies can improve their communications so that their remote employees don’t turn directly towards ambivalence.
Companies Need to Adjust Their Communications Strategies
It starts from the top down. Business leaders and managers have to know that because there are no real opportunities to have face-to-face discussions, and doing so virtually will take up a large part of their subordinates’ time, they need to get smart about the way they craft their communications. Here are a few suggestions:
Change Appropriate Style
This is a big one when interacting with your own team, not necessarily interacting with customers that expect a certain level of decorum when communicating with a business. If your staff have to sift through dozens and dozens of emails to get to the information they want, wouldn’t it be better that when they do come across some relevant information that they aren’t wasting their time with unnecessary jargon?
One of the best ways to mitigate confusion in remote communications–especially in high volume and high stress environments–is to keep things simple. Prioritize clear, straightforward language and simple, to-the-point answers. The messages should be clear immediately. This will go a long way toward avoiding impeding workflows and fostering confusion and costly redundant action.
Cut Down on Frequency
One of the biggest complaints about communications during this time is that there is just too much that comes in to ever get a real grasp on. Think about the instant messaging platform your business uses. How many of your messages are from someone who uses a group message to post seemingly unnecessary information to you? That can get real frustrating real quick. It can also make people either mute notifications or ignore the chat altogether. This can have some serious consequences.
Instead of sending out multiple messages designed to get a certain message or direction out there, consider the people you are messaging. If a person is so overwhelmed with the messages they get, there is no way that they will sufficiently prioritize the things you need them to prioritize. It’s that simple. Remember what you send and who you send it to and you’ll see a lot of happy subordinates/co-workers.
Relevance of Information
Finally, the biggest frustration people have with communications is that they are constantly getting messages that have nothing to do with them. We touched on this above, but if half of the messages you get each day have absolutely nothing to do with you, but you are required to comb through these messages anyway, you’d have a hard time giving a hoot what is in any of them.
This is a major problem on both ends. It makes the employee feel like they aren’t worthy enough to lend the consideration to be omitted from communications that don’t pertain to them. On the other hand, for the employer the more information that they expect their people to sort through, the less time they are working on the revenue generating tasks. This doesn’t even consider the customer-generated emails and messages that workers have to deal with. Make sure that the people you send information to require that information, otherwise you may be dealing with operational problems.
Remote work may or may not be the new normal, but at this time it is an essential strategy that many businesses are using to keep their doors open and their orders filled. If you would like to discuss technology and strategy solutions to your communications problems, call the IT experts at Lantek today at (610) 683-6883.