Building Effective Work from Home Communications with Workstorming
4 June 2020
In 2020, my company planned yearly theme in order to make consistent communication in the eyes of internal and external stakeholders. As the heart of a company, marketing communication plays vital role in terms of branding, communication as well as ensuring all company policies to be well-informed.
Early this year, we raised “Exploring the new world” theme, start to welcome our 3rd anniversary. We were so ready and everything was on schedule, until suddenly the pandemic forced us to face such a real new world (refer to “new normal”). Having that said, as a member of the marketing department, my team and I had to adjust the plan while the new world theme is keep going.
Coming to this new phase we put our concern to protect our people. Firstly, we had corrective communication action to our employee and respective partners. We also prepared business continues plan to remain committed to all stakeholders. The reality shows us that pandemic remains occur; then we decide to have Working from Home for our employee while obey government & presidential decree. Otherwise, we also keep monitoring on our frontline people health who is still working in the fulfillment center during pandemic.
Challenging Working from Home During Pandemic
Talking about recent Working from Home is totally different context with the real Working from Home we knew. We do Working from Home, but in a force of Coronavirus pandemic threats. According to Forbes, research found that Working from Home can boost employee productivity, improve work/ life balance and foster better mental health. However, the real Working from Home policy normally be taken due to the employers’ decision.
Added by Forbes, Neil Webb, a business development director in London noted that people now who do Working from Home is not doing so, but they are at home during a crisis trying to work. We also admit it and respond to Working from Home policy, we conduct internal activities to keep our employee mental health and informative updates about company to reduce uncertainty. This is a challenging Working from Home.
In addition, Patria Strach, interim executive director at the Rockefeller Institute added that this forced Work from Home arrangements are a viable strategy for business and to be likely true after crisis is over. Meanwhile, employers know that not every worker will want to Work from Home either due to tech issues, lack of sociability and managing remote workers takes efforts. The question is how can employee keeping up their performance during this situation?
Learn from Workstorming
Working from Home policy had given me more time to complete my task, therefore I use this extra time to evaluate our previous work performance and also during this pandemic. In fact, I face a lot of virtual conversation passing by within these two months which consist unending chat bubble and urgent matters. Managing the conversation was exasperatedly hard thing to do at first.
That’s why I look for a solution references, then found this book called “Workstorming: Why conversations at work go wrong and how to fix them” Rob Kendall. This book elaborates coping strategies that we use to deal with sometimes overwhelming demands of the modern workplace. The strategies offer an antidote to boost productivity, strengthen our connection with others and overcome information overload. Kendall as a conversation expert explains that context matters in any conversation in which we usually miss either at work and life.
Here are some key takeaways from Kendall on “how to reduce the tension from those kind of conversation situation”:
- Different channel has different type of communication. To explain the context, we need to see the potential ambiguity. Do think first before you act. Then, see this picture below to consider the best options for you to manage a work conversation in this situation:
Picture 1: Workstorming Page 61
- We usually meet interruption during conversation because it is inevitable. We can replace that habit with more positive one: create spaces or schedule gaps between meeting and make sure everything on planned, don’t rush, manage attention and notice each person we are speaking to, go deeper in conversation not shallower and create boundaries between the work day and weekend.
- Listen more, make your meeting counts, listen to many perspectives, adapt our style, negotiate, consider cultural influences, manage confrontation by empathy and invent the future by developing thinking environment.
- Conversation at work can be maddening because our good intention can be misread. To handle it, we demand clarity before heading further conversation. Prior to the conversation, firstly we need to make sure what are we are talking about. It‘s ok to do a double check, the people who involved in the conversation should be on the same page or the conversation would be pointless.
- Talking with different people urge us to consider cultural influences because global citizen has multi way of communications. It requires a willingness to respect and be curious about the norms of other culture. We can anticipate this by asking on how things are done when we are working in various environments.
Does the workstorming applicable in any situation?
Referring to picture 1, we can manage our conversation through a different kind of channel. In this pandemic, we were urged to communicate virtually, means we can only optimize video, phone, email, instant message or text so we don’t miss full set of visual clues. We can manage time to consider and think carefully before we act, in this to replace the visual clues.
Worth remembering: we can use a channel that allows us to hear the other person’s tone of voice, also see their body language. Further instance, we make less assumptions. As the time ticks, we need to be more careful and count on how many times has passed by. No need to rush, time is worth to spend if we can control it. We are now heading to a new normal era, where probably some of our colleague works in the office, while others still working at home.
We can combine different channel to smoothen any conversation, by noticing the context, exit strategy if we notice something wrong, manage time, thinking habit, understand others and add more empathy. So does the workstorming applicable in this situation? The answer is yes. I have implemented this concept to manage my team thoroughly, consider that different context does matter, trace back any reason and explore challenges as well as overcome problems during this Working from Home period.
Compared to my normal days at the office, implementing these strategies is efficiently helpful. Helping to avoid confusion as I lead different conversation, help my team to have better communication and having the same perceptions. Frankly, this strategy helps us to stay focused on our task and responsibilities, also the results are extremely good. It improves better communication within the company and also across organization, as I more understand to talk with global partners.
Written by Fabella Cloudia
Edited by Livia Christiany Chandra
Fabella Cloudia at a Glance:
I am Marketing Lead of Jet Commerce who have a strong vision in making a great breakthrough for the company. I’m also a content prosumer and regularly talk about work & life on my Instagram & YouTube channel. I love beauty care and certified as a makeup artist. I’m proud to say that work is always an excitement moment in my life. Follow me: @fabellacloudia