Because of the coronavirus, many employees are working from home and most communication has been moved online. Online communication carries its own difficulties and unspoken rules. Learning to navigate these will help you and your employees maintain high levels of connection and communication. Here’s how:

Keep Chats on Track

Chats can be useful tool for connecting with employees and colleagues while most are working remotely. However, chat tools like Slack, Teams, and Skype can also become a distraction from work. Avoid being too casual on chats. Keep tangents to a minimum and always be aware of how your message may be perceived. You never want to accidentally offend someone.

Reply Quickly

While most people are working apart, your co-workers won’t be able to tell when you’re hard at work or in a meeting. This means you’re probably getting messages at inconvenient timesIf possible, try to at least acknowledge the messages. You can send a quick reply setting the expectaion for when you will be able to address their message. This lets the other party know that their message was read, and that you aren’t ignoring them.

On the other hand, you should be considerate while waiting for replies. Don’t send a bunch of follow up messages while waiting for someone to reply. If possible, wait patiently for a reply and trust your colleague to get back to you as soon as they can.

Stay Professional

It might be hard for you to feel very professional working from your couch, but your messages don’t need to reflect this. Sign in and sign off appropriately and keep your messages short. Additionally, you should always make sure to proofread your messages before sending them. This will encourage employees throughout your company to keep communication on-track and professional.

Setting these expectations for yourself and your employees will help maintain a high-level of professional communication, even while working remotely.