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Communicate effectively when working from home

Regular communication is key to effective working and can also help you avoid feeling isolated. Most staff spend their office-time in close proximity to their colleagues, making communication easy. Replicate this by maintaining regular communication with colleagues and exploiting tools available to you: 

  • Schedule regular virtual meetings with your manager/teamThe nature of the meeting can vary from a 1-2-1 with your manager to a quick meeting to kick off the day with your team. Regular meetings will help everyone understand what others are working on, share ideas, and prevent feelings of isolation.  

  • Don’t overuse meetingsJust as in the office, not every meeting has to be a group meeting and different tools suit different tasks. If a quick chat is needed, an instant message via Microsoft Teams may suffice. Likewise, a quick video call with a few staff may be quicker and more efficient than messaging each person individually.  

  • Key points to remember when video conferencing include: 

    • Test your equipment before you video call. Undertake a quick test call to a colleague to make sure everything is in working order before you need it. 
    • Understand and check your settings; make sure your microphone is unmuted before speaking.
    • If you are the organiser, outline the purpose of the meeting in any invites and reiterate at the beginning of the meeting. Doing so ensures everyone's time is respected and used efficiently. 
    • If multiple people try to talk at once decisions and actions can become confused. Where possible, have someone chair/steer the meeting and have them take ownership of ensuring decisions and actions are clear. Consider circulating actions and a short summary of the discussion after the meeting via email. 
    • Dress appropriately. 
    • If you are calling without video, and speaking with external staff or those unfamiliar to you, consider introducing yourself when you raise questions so it is clear who is speaking. 
    • Act as you would in a physical meeting. Be present. Don’t check your emails or read articles while on the video call. 
    • Consider blurring your background if your surroundings may be distracting to others or you want to hide your piles of washing! Not all devices/programmes support blurring but many, for example Microsoft Teams, do.

created on 2020-03-26 by Frank Melmoe
last updated on 2023-05-10 by Benoit Sharp