The way we communicate in business has changed, 62% of companies are still using three or more video calling platforms in 2022, and we have Covid to thank for that. Covid has forced companies that have never considered remote communication before to embrace it, and it seems it’s a hard habit to shake.
No longer is it reserved for international client calls; instead, team catch-ups are happening via Zoom, and daily briefings are taking place on Teams. But what does this shift mean for business communication going forward?
Has communication lost its human touch?
Non-verbal cues are crucial when building relationships. How often have you misconstrued an email because of a full stop or one-word answers? It’s easy to read too much into simple punctuation choices or behaviour when it’s not in-person.
Sentiment is easier to gauge when sitting right in front of someone. But we can still connect as humans via technology. Technology facilitates quicker, more direct communication, which is great in certain situations. For example, to clarify a point or to follow up after a meeting. Where we lose the interaction is on a personal level, building relationships, checking in with coworkers, daily chit chat, idea sharing etc.
So how can we bring back the human touch when communicating post-covid?
- You could encourage team members to use web chat features in project management platforms,
helping them develop social relationships.
- And think about adopting a hybrid approach to meetings. Mix it up with phone calls, video calls
and in-person meetings — whichever suits the occasion best. Rather than going straight to a video call.
Meetings are longer and we’re getting tired quicker
You’d think not travelling to the meeting itself would mean you’re raring to go. But, apparently, that’s not the case. Yes, they’re more convenient, but video calls are getting more frequent, too frequent — they’ve become the go-to choice for a quick catch up. This means “Zoom fatigue” — probably a term that’s haunted your dreams over the last two years, is real, and it’s affecting staff productivity.
Some companies, like Allianz, have introduced Zoom-free days in a bid to address these fatigue issues and restore the work-life balance. Although this might address the volume of meetings on a particular day, what does that mean for the other days?
Maybe it’s time for these meetings to be more deliberate and slimmed down. Because 42% of employees on video calls say they dial in and contribute nothing, having meetings that produce actionable results where everyone involved is relevant and can contribute effectively could be the way forward.
We’re able to become more efficient (and greener)
Remote communication opens a window to a more efficient and productive way of working; there’s no doubt about that. It means you can stay in the same frame of mind — it fits seamlessly into your working day with no upheaval.
Remote communication offers us the chance to save money, petrol, time and energy. It helps lower the carbon footprint of businesses. Client communication can be instant; you’re not searching for weeks to find a convenient calendar opening. You can share documents and screens and annotate collaboratively as the meeting progresses. There’s no arguing that it isn’t a better use of time.
But there’s still a place for in-person meetings. Building rapport is crucial to the success of a campaign or a project. That’s why adopting a hybrid comms model is how most businesses will function going forwards. It matters how we use these tools to communicate for the better. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they should be overused.
At Kaleidoscope, we highly value communication and collaboration, here are 3 ways collaboration improves the client-agency relationship.