- Millions of employees will work from home or remote locations, dealing with co-workers, customers and suppliers via computer and video phones.
- A third of employees agree that commuting will be unheard of, as people will work from home rather than a central office; almost a third also feel that the cost of travel will simply be too high to warrant a daily commute.
- 69% of workers also think that people will interact more with technology than they will with each other, due to the predicted dominance of remote working on a global scale.
What does all this mean? In my opinion, it means virtual office technologies will be even more vital in the decades ahead. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Virtual offices solutions are already seeing a strong uptick in the face of a shaky economy and the rise of eco-friendly workplace strategies, but virtual offices will become even more prevalent in the future.
With the rise of virtual offices, communication becomes important because there’s less opportunity to really get to know people. Office Angel offers a few communications tips for virtual office workers that apply just as much today as they will in the future.
- Clarity is essential. Important messages to the group should be proofed by more than one person to make sure the e-mail is both clear and accurate.
- Read receipts are a good way to ensure your emails are being read, particularly if you’re waiting for something important to be actioned.
- When communicating with your workforce via email, it’s vital to give employees the opportunity to ask questions. Messages can easily be missed—or misunderstood—by something as simple as an out of place comma, so check regularly to make sure that employees are on track and not missing any critical information.
- Encourage employees to follow their emails with a phone call where appropriate. Even if it’s not possible to speak to colleagues in person, discussing work, planning strategies and sharing ideas over the phone can help to break down barriers and keep communication skills fresh.
- Know when it should be avoided: for truly difficult conversations—such as performance reviews—you can’t be as empathetic over the phone or via video conference as you are in person. Try to conduct such meetings in person where possible.
So, chances are if you aren't working in a virtual office now you will be one day, and maybe sooner than you think. Until them, we still live in a highly virtualized work world. So be careful with your communication.