Want to Work Well Virtually? Pick Up the Phone.
Lots of people joined organizations virtually in the last few years and have never met their coworkers in person. Many people are working hybrid and may only see coworkers a few times a month, if at all. You may be wondering how you build relationships and your career when you don’t see the people you work with. 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. 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 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 think 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 or schedule calls, depending on people’s preferences. Have the conversations you’d have if you ran into them in the hallway at work. Talk through the projects you’re working on. If you’re new to the organization, ask their role and how your role impacts theirs. Calls don’t have to be long. People just need contact. And while you’re on the phone, get questions answered in five minutes rather than with 25 emails.