Want to Work Well Virtually? Pick Up the Phone.
The most frequent question I’m getting these days is how to manage business relationships virtually. Here is the short answer – talk to people. Pick up the phone. You don’t need to have video calls, if you don’t want to. Showering is a personal choice. You just need to talk to people.
People need human contact. We even need to connect with the people we don’t like – when we work for and with them. Text and email don’t replace talking to people.
We stopped talking to each other long before so many people began working from home. Email has been overused for years. We emailed the people we sat next to at work. We exchanged 20 emails on one topic rather than picking up the phone.
We ask permission to call our friends to catch up. Texting a friend to ask, “Is it ok if I call you tomorrow morning?” is the norm. We exchange 50 texts to determine where and when to meet for lunch.
Maybe people thinking email and texting is easier, less intrusive, faster. Less intrusive, yes. Easier, sometimes. Faster, no.
Call the people you work with. Ask for the best time to call, if you like. Check in on them. Ask how they’re doing. Yes, there may be a crying child or a barking dog in the background. It’s ok. Calls don’t have to be long. People just need contact. They need to know that you care and are ‘in it’ with them. And while you’re on the phone, get questions answered in five minutes rather than with 25 emails.