New Study Shows Why Remote Communications Training Is Key to Hybrid and Remote Work
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As companies shift towards a hybrid and remote work model, the importance of communication and collaboration training for employees becomes increasingly evident. A recent study from Canon found that 65% of those who split their time between working from home and the office believe that the hybrid work environment has improved their communication skills, with introverts having a stronger belief in this than extroverts (82% vs. 62%). However, the study also highlighted some of the unique challenges that come with remote communication.
One key takeaway from the study is that introverts and extroverts have different experiences with remote work. For example, while 88% of introverts said that the hybrid work environment allows them to come out of their shell, they were also more likely to find it overwhelming (80% vs. 64% of extroverts). Similarly, while many introverts cited lack of feedback or communication as their biggest daily hurdle (32%), many extroverts struggled with too many channels of communication (21%).
Another important finding from the study is that video plays a crucial role in improving communication and productivity among remote teams. Eight in 10 people who turn on their video during meetings reported that meetings felt more productive when everyone else did as well. Respondents also reported that being able to share documents, images, and videos in real-time during meetings (66%) and seeing who else is in the meeting (58%) helped them to better interact with their co-workers.
However, the study also revealed that 9 in 10 employees found it challenging to speak up at work, with nearly two-thirds feeling this way while working remotely. One common reason for this is that everyone speaks at the same time (47%), indicating a need for better meeting management and communication protocols. Additionally, 43% of respondents preferred visual or text-based communication, highlighting the importance of providing a variety of communication options to accommodate different learning styles and preferences.
As a highly experienced expert and trainer in the field of hybrid and remote communication, I have consulted for numerous companies on the importance of communication and collaboration training for hybrid and remote work. The data from the study above confirms the challenges that employees face in this new work environment, and highlights the importance of addressing these challenges through proper training and support.
Case Studies of Remote Communication
I have seen firsthand the impact that effective communication and collaboration skills can have on a company's success. For example, a mid-size IT services company that I consulted for struggled with communication and collaboration issues among their remote team members. By implementing a comprehensive training program that focused on improving communication and collaboration skills, the company was able to improve productivity and reduce turnover among their hybrid and remote employees.
Another example is a large financial services company with which I worked on transitioning to long-term hybrid work arrangements. They had a large number of introverted employees and found that they were struggling to communicate effectively while working remotely. By using techniques such as video conferencing and real-time document sharing, the company was able to improve communication among their introverted employees and increase productivity.
One of the biggest challenges that hybrid and remote work poses is the lack of face-to-face interaction. This lack of visual cues can make it difficult for employees to understand each other's tone and intent, leading to misunderstandings and miscommunication. A healthcare services company implemented video conferencing training for all employees, which resulted in a 30% increase in productivity and a 25% reduction in miscommunication. By learning how to read body language, use nonverbal cues, and communicate effectively through video, employees are better able to understand each other and work together more efficiently.
Another challenge that hybrid and remote work poses is the abundance of channels of communication. With so many different ways to communicate - email, instant messaging, video conferencing, etc. - it can be overwhelming for employees to keep track of everything. This can lead to important messages getting lost in the shuffle and important information falling through the cracks. To address this, companies should invest in training that helps employees manage their communication channels more effectively. For example, a mid-size direct-to-consumer company implemented a training program that taught employees how to prioritize their messages, use different communication channels for different purposes, and set clear expectations for when and how they should be reached. As a result, the company experienced a 40% reduction in miscommunication and a 30% increase in productivity.
Cognitive Biases in Remote Communication
One of the key findings from the study is that introverts are more likely to find the hybrid work environment overwhelming. This is likely due to the attentional bias, a cognitive bias where individuals have a tendency to pay more attention to negative information than positive information. In the context of hybrid work, introverts may be more likely to focus on the challenges of remote communication, such as lack of feedback or communication, rather than the benefits. To combat this, companies can provide communication and collaboration training that addresses the unique needs of introverts, such as providing clear guidelines for communication and feedback, and encouraging the use of text-based communication.
Another key finding from the study is that many employees find it challenging to speak up at work, particularly when working remotely. This is likely due to the status quo bias, where individuals have a tendency to stick with the status quo and avoid taking risks. In the context of remote work, employees may be less likely to speak up or share their ideas due to the lack of face-to-face interactions and the perceived risk of being judged or rejected. To combat this, companies can provide communication and collaboration training that encourages active participation and promotes a culture of open communication.
The study also highlighted the importance of video in improving productivity and co-worker interactions. In particular, the study found that 80% of people who turn on their video during meetings feel that the meetings are more productive. This is likely due to the empathy gap, a bias where individuals have a harder time understanding and empathizing with others when they can't see them in person. By providing training on the use of video technology and best practices for remote meetings, companies can help employees to better understand and connect with their colleagues, leading to more effective communication and collaboration.
In conclusion, the study confirms the challenges that employees face in the hybrid work environment and highlights the importance of remote communication and collaboration training. Companies that invest in training to help employees navigate the challenges of this new work environment will see significant improvements in productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction. By implementing training programs that focus on video communication, channel management, and cognitive biases, companies can ensure that their employees have the skills they need to succeed in this new work environment. Remember, remote communication is key for the success of your company.
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Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.
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