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When I was at school, my school reports often included a comment that I was too chatty and needed to talk less in class. (I know shocker!)

To be fair talking has never really caused me too many problems but I do think that we are so reliant on technology these days that we may forget the importance of talking.

With so many of us either working from home and ‘speaking’ to colleagues over email and Microsoft Teams, what happens if we forget that our best work can be done if we collaborate with each other. I know that managers are scheduling calls and bringing the team together but that doesn’t always go smoothly.

So far this month I’ve heard employees telling their Line Managers:

  1. I can only speak between 1 p.m and 2 p.m. as that is when my partner has lunch with the children.
  2. I can’t appear on camera as it eats into my broadband.

These people are working from home but not working in a way that they would do if they were in the office. If allowed to ‘duck out’ of person to person contact and to put digital media between themselves and their employer, this will ultimately impact the culture of the organisation.

This must not happen.  So for each of these issues I’d be looking at the following:

  1. Lets have a daily catch up at 1 p.m.
  2. What can we do to improve your connectivity?

If not addressed from a HR perspective will this build up to issues not being dealt with face to face but rather via text, email or WhatsApp. This will then impact the culture negatively.

The best analogy I’ve heard along these lines recently was when someone described a good happy marriage where the partners had had a disagreement.

What would happen if in that marriage rather than talk to each other one party tried to use WhatsApp to fix it? Would that work? Would that cause potentially more issues? Can we really resolve disagreements using typed words?

I get that it can be scary to sit down and talk to a staff member, but if you really want a culture where you treat each other decently can you really do anything else. If your issue with this person is that they are being unreasonable, how would you look if you tried to deal with it over WhatsApp or text?

What if they text you?

We hear this a lot. My stock answer to that is the following text back.

  • Call me between [insert times].

If they text again and want you to engage in a text conversation,

  • again its… Sorry we should talk, call me between [insert times].

When you speak to your staff, speak from the heart. Acknowledge their feelings. Listen more than you talk. Use words to encourage and motivate. Express your needs and be fair which means being fair on you too.

If you need any assistance with any aspect of managing your people, please give us a call on 01527 306066.