COVID-19 dramatically changed the landscape of the workplace. More employees than ever, including those at University of Phoenix, are working from home. The shift to remote work might pose challenges for teamwork and collaboration, but problems can be overcome if workers have proper communication skills and resources.
The success of virtual teams at University of Phoenix relies heavily on effective communication. For interactions to be effective, employees must understand the information sent to them and use it as the sender intended. This requires a blend of recipient comprehension and sender clarification.
To start with, University of Phoenix and other organizations must find their way around a major roadblock: the absence of in-person interaction.
The benefits of face-to-face communication are easily taken for granted until they are unavailable. Facial expression, pitch, volume, and tone of voice factor into being understood correctly as well as understanding others. Paralinguistic cues help build positive relationships among coworkers and between supervisors and subordinates. In remote work settings without these cues, communication skills must be actively worked on and enhanced. Nothing should be left open to interpretation.
Providing remote workers with the right resources to communicate effectively is another obstacle. Employees should be armed with tips for success and cutting-edge technological tools for virtual interaction. Without these, productive partnerships and interactions are difficult to foster. Employees become dissatisfied or frustrated, stress levels increase, and productivity suffers. Absenteeism and high employee turnover rates are other telltale signs that communication tools are not meeting essential needs.
Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams are some of the tools available for live interactive meetings via the internet. They provide alternatives for real-time communication when in-person interaction is impossible. Supervisors across all industries leverage these tools to relay information, define goals, encourage collaboration, and keep teams on the same page. Virtual meeting attendees can ask questions, get clarification, and receive instant feedback.
Today’s communication software offers a wide range of features, many of which are configurable to specific use cases. Some features that decision makers should consider in order to choose the best options for their needs include:
- Online meetings
- Video conferencing
- Group video calls
- Instant messaging
- File sharing and transfer
- Multiple screen and window sharing
- International usage
- Virtual lobbies for brainstorming and collaboration
After selecting software, leaders must establish best practices, etiquette guidelines, confidentiality rules, and security protocols. Supervisors must decide who receives or has access to specific information. Employees will need to learn the new additions to their tech stack, and support teams may need to dedicate additional time to training and troubleshooting these systems.
Times and methods of communication must be agreed on, especially for interactions between employees across different time zones. Design schedules that accommodate as many individuals as possible, limiting calls and virtual meetings to specific times to foster collaboration and productivity. Gathering feedback from team members about their experience, needs, and challenges can also help employers improve their virtual communication as requirements change over time.
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