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#WFH: Are You Overly Reliant on Email?

This may take some practice because the RAS (or Reticular Activating System) part of our brain controls what you focus on. If we have been self-focused for a long time, it takes practice to focus on the other person. Using FROG and a commitment to better virtual communication will help. We don’t want to be afraid to praise someone and tell them they are doing a great job. We don’t want to assume they know it. We want to always say thank you early and often, especially in a virtual environment. It is important for people to feel appreciated. When we are disconnected and isolated, feeling appreciated can go a long, long way.

We also don’t want to be overly reliant on email. We can’t really listen with email and we can’t give or get direct feedback. Email is formal (top down) and indirect. Keep your communication positive, funny and interesting as much as possible. We don’t want to confuse online communication with a visit, a call or a card. We want to make our communication as personal as we can and keep it appropriate. FROG is a tool to help us focus more on others and less on ourselves. The more we engage others and take care of them, the more they are willing to do for us. Then the problems and numbers begin to take care of themselves.

We want to remember that all people have unique communication styles and personalities and be attuned to how people are listening and interacting. We can use our intuition to pick up on what is being said and what is not. We don’t use a broad yet superficial style of online communication. We want to focus more deeply on less quantity and more quality and be aware of overwhelming coworkers with too much. Remember that quantity is not quality and certainly not engagement. Using casual language and focusing on FROG helps. Allowing conversations to grow and build by asking questions and having others contribute their ideas keeps the conversation moving and focused. We want to listen to what our virtual coworkers are saying and look for their motivation. The rule is to listen early and often and provide feedback, and support when we can.

Empathy in a relationship leads to connection and usually success. FROG helps us to dissolve alienation and isolation. It is important in a detached and isolated environment to know that someone values us, cares about us and takes an interest in our life. Communication that is accepting and nonjudgmental will help us to build relationships that are closer and stronger. This in turn will help create engagement and trust, two of the most important aspects for success in the virtual workplace. FROG gives us a way to connect. Listening with empathy gives us a way to build and sustain real bonds and relationships online. Tuning in to what people are saying and “feeling” gives us insight into their perspective.

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