25.03
2020

Tips for Communicating Efficiently While Working Away From the Office

Communicating efficiently is a big part of what makes an office properly function, but what happens in a remote work setting, when face-to-face conversations aren’t always realistic? Barriers to communication shouldn’t be a reason for productivity to lag when employees are performing work away from the office. Here are four ways that you can make connecting with your dispersed remote workers much easier, efficient, and productive, especially during a time like this.

Use voice calls, when necessary

Calling remote employees from time to time, rather than exclusively messaging or emailing them, adds a personalized touch and can even help transmit your positive company culture across long distances. Verbal check-ins with remote staff also provide an easier outlet for them to ask follow-up questions and gain clarification on certain tasks, if necessary.

Retain records of past conversations

To ensure that conversations remain on task and work-related, make sure you’re using a system of communication that records chat logs in near real-time. This can also be beneficial if an employee forgets something; they can simply refer back to a past conversation they had with their manager to be reminded of what’s needed next, potentially cutting out a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth. Note: If you’re looking for a solution to help your company with this, Encore, our flagship application, has an Intra-Company Messaging feature that enables you to connect with multiple remote employees at once, while also saving records of past conversations for your team to reference in the future.

Rely on a project management software

Planning out work using a project management software can greatly assist everyone in your organization with getting on the same page about the current standing of things. Assigning tasks by employee lets managers and employees know when a step along the way of completing the project is on hold and also who specifically is responsible for its pending status. If remote employees are able to visualize the individual steps in an assignment in a checklist-style format, as well as see whose turn it is to act next, they’re empowered to more effectively collaborate without the need to ask unnecessary questions.

Send information to multiple remote employees at once

It sounds obvious, but any time you need to reach out to remote employees about an assignment, always only identify those who are involved with it and communicate exclusively with them. Communicating only with those who have a part in the project gets it moving forward faster, while also helping to prevent inbox overload and wasted time for those in your organization who aren’t a part of it. Also, as mentioned previously, Encore’s Intra-Company Messaging feature allows companies to communicate with multiple remote employees at once via desktop-to-handset integration, serving as a faster, less cumbersome alternative to email. Ask us today how we at Actsoft can set your company up with this feature and optimize your team’s efficiency, particularly when it comes to remote communication.

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15.03
2019

How to Manage Difficult Behavior at Work

Let’s face it. No matter what we all would like to believe about the place we work, there is bound to be conflict in the office. It might be clashing of strong personalities with starkly different viewpoints on how things should be done or (unfortunately) the occasional worker who is consistently at odds with others. When these types of issues rise up among staff, it’s up to you to redirect them to a more amicable path.

We’ve discussed how to approach conflict in the past from a management perspective, but what happens when the issue at hand lies with steadily difficult behavior, rather than one-off instances that can be resolved and moved on from? What do you do when faced with a team member who repeatedly presents off-putting behavior that negatively impacts others?

Now, your inclination may be to resort to swiftly eliminating the problem. While termination can certainly be one solution, it shouldn’t necessarily be the go-to method. For starters, the so-called difficult person may otherwise be a tremendous asset to your company. Additionally, they may not even realize that their behavior is creating discord.

At the same time, it’s still important to be on top of this type of conflict, particularly when it’s consistent, because dissonance among your staff not only produces unpleasant working conditions (even for those not directly involved), but it also is a catalyst for sub-par performance, which affects your bottom line.

Since we’re all about helping you maximize your workforce’s potential in order to make your business as smooth-running and profitable as possible, we thought we’d pass along some advice for how best to approach these types of sensitive situations.

Listen to them.
Let’s say someone is consistently negative; it can put a real damper on the mood. Though we all may want to focus on the positive, it’s important to hear this person out. They could very well have a legitimate complaint and feel that nobody has listened to them. And so, it festers. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Determine if their negativity stems from a work-related issue that you may not have known about, but that needs to be addressed. If not, let them know how their negative attitude is adversely affecting the team and put them on a path toward more positive behavior.

Approach respectfully, not confrontationally.
There are certain behaviors that can truly be disruptive to the workplace. It may be something as simple as listening to music too loud, or it might be a more sensitive subject, like hygiene issues. Or maybe they’re dressing in a way you feel doesn’t best represent the company, though it may technically fall within the dress code. Whatever the issue may be, it’s best to address the person directly, though respectfully, and make sure there’s a clear understanding of adjustments that need to be made.

Put people on a path to success.
Difficult behavior can abruptly end a person’s career path within a certain business. Make sure the employee knows they have the opportunity to get back on track and truly pave a road to future success with the company … if they can successfully modify their day-to-day conduct. Ultimately, most people want to be successful and, more often than not, if they know they’re jeopardizing that, they’ll adjust to accommodate.

Don’t add fuel to the fire.
We know, sometimes it’s easier (and more fun) to be the type of boss that is super chummy with all your staff. While it’s great to have that type of rapport, there needs to be a line of separation at some point. If certain members of your team take to ragging on others for, say, the aforementioned disruptive behavior — particularly if they’re taking things too far — don’t join them. Your job isn’t to be an antagonist. Instead, nip that behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand, and then address the disruption.

At the end of the day, we all want the workplace — whether you’re in an office, constantly offsite, or a combination of the two — to be an enjoyable place to be. After all, it is where you spend a large chunk of your waking hours. We hope this can help.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

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01.03
2019

5 Tips for Better Communication at Work

It doesn’t matter if ten percent of your workforce is in the field or if 100 percent of it is. One of the top attributes that contributes to the success or any business is clear and effective communication. Think about it for a minute. How can you expect to successfully deliver a product if the people responsible for its creation can’t even manage to maintain a dialogue that keeps everyone operating on the same page? (Hint: You can’t.)

With that in mind, we thought we’d offer a little advice on how to more effectively communicate with your team

Be crystal clear.
We get it. This seems like obvious non-advice but work with us here. More often than not, miscommunications happen because of gaps, left-out information, or even nonverbal cues that contradict the actual message being delivered. Make sure you are relaying all pertinent information, clearly and concisely. And if speaking in person, versus through an email, mind those facial expressions and gestures that could, say, suggest that you really don’t feel strongly about what you’re saying.

Listen to your team.
This is probably the most important tip of all. While it may not seem like a tip that necessarily involves you actually communicating with anyone, taking the time to listen to your staff — actually hearing what they have to say — sends an extremely powerful message. It’s one thing for an employer to speak about having an open-door policy and an entirely different matter to see it in action. Whether it’s office grievances or ideas for process improvement, let them not only be heard but show that you are listening. You can achieve this by repeating certain talking points back and asking questions.

Ask questions.
Like we mentioned above, asking questions helps to really demonstrate to your staff that you’re actually listening to them when they talk. But it also helps to clarify any confusion there may be, assuring that you are all on the same page. However, when asking questions, make sure not to veer off to another topic altogether. Stay focused on the subject at hand.

Approach conflict from all angles.
It’s almost impossible to avoid some sort of conflict amongst colleagues. No two minds work the same and, at one time or another, different viewpoints are going to clash. What matters is how conflicts are resolved. As a leader, be sure to hear both sides of the equation, keep an open mind, and don’t play favorites. It’s important to maintain a high level of diplomacy and help all parties involved come to some sort of resolution so everyone can move forward.

Avoid discussing divisive topics.
We’ve told you about the negative side of discussing politics in the workplace, but politics isn’t the only taboo topic of conversation at work. Bold statements about personal beliefs, such as religion, or even thoughts on hot-button topics in the news, like a highly controversial criminal trial, for example, can lead to heated debates that are best left outside of the office. The last thing you want is for unrelated personal viewpoints to get in the middle of people’s abilities to effectively do their jobs.

With a little finessing, anyone can mold themselves into a model communicator. It all comes down to being willing to put in the effort and make some changes that ultimately help the business as a whole move forward.

Have any questions on how Actsoft can help you?

Call (888) 732-6638 or Receive a Live Webinar