7 Tips for Proper Team-Messaging Etiquette

My Post (17)Remember AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)? When it launched in 1997, it introduced a generation of internet users to the concept of instant text-based messaging. It went on to become one of the most popular applications of its kind.

Millennials, in particular, grew up with instant messaging. From AIM and MSN Messenger to SMS text messaging, these technologies shaped and defined how a generation communicated.

Despite AIM’s demise in 2017, the legacy of the once-popular messaging application lives on, particularly in how messaging has become a staple of business communications today. As it turns out, those Millennials who grew up with instant messaging now make up 35% of the workforce, and they’ve brought the concept to their business colleagues of all generations.

Rather than instant messaging, however, the 21st-century business version focuses on team messaging—a way for teams to form around business topics and projects using a powerful combination of team messaging, document sharing, and integrated solutions for calling and video meetings.

While messaging isn’t new by any means, this heightened role in workplace communications certainly is. With this new importance, however, comes the need to ensure you’re using proper etiquette. As many of us have experienced, simple text—without the context of body language and tone of voice, can often be easily misinterpreted.

Here are a few tips on how to effectively use team messaging applications to communicate with your colleagues.

1. Be a mindful messenger

While team messaging can help you be more concise with your communication, being too direct or short with your messages can also send the wrong intent. For example, abruptness can often be misread by colleagues as insulting.

Choose your words carefully. Before you send out a message, take a second to read it. Ask yourself how you’d feel if you’d received it. Also, keep in mind that your communication preferences may differ from those of your colleagues, so don’t be afraid to ask how they’d like to hear from you.

2. Reply in a timely fashion

Sometimes we all just need to tune out the world and focus on our work. There’s nothing wrong with that, but set expectations for when people can expect a response from you. If you ignore too many requests, colleagues might feel they’re not a priority.

To avoid misunderstandings, always acknowledge messages. A simple “received, thanks!” or “I’m busy right now, but I’ll check it out after lunch” can go a long way toward making your colleagues feel heard and appreciated. And if you know you’re going to be spending a lot of time in heads-down mode, give your team a heads-up beforehand so they know when to expect a response from you.

3. Praise in public, correct in private

Constructive feedback is a critical part of employee development. How you deliver feedback, however, is just as important as the feedback itself.

Good co-workers don’t reprimand others in the middle of a staff meeting, and the same goes for your team messaging platform. Public criticism can embarrass and demoralize employees, and can often lead to feelings of shame, avoidance of work, or outright resignations. It can also affect overall team morale. To avoid these problems, deliver feedback one on one, either in a private message or a call.

On the other hand, share praise publicly. Depending on the size of your company, employees can often find it difficult to appreciate their colleagues when they aren’t directly involved in each other’s projects. Sharing wins in a public team messaging group helps employees feel more valued and appreciated, and can boost morale for the entire team.

4. Pick your communication channel wisely

Team messaging apps aren’t appropriate for every conversation. For example, messaging groups work well for rewards and recognition (see tip #3), as well as project updates and discussions, but they’re rarely the best place for constructive feedback, personal discussions, or company announcements.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if a response requires one sentence or less, use messaging or email. If a response requires three sentences or more, schedule a call or video meeting. It’s best to deal with complicated issues face-to-face so you can take in non-verbal cues such as gestures, facial expressions, body language, and posture. – Read more

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Top Self-Storage Company Enables Thousands of Employees to Work from Home through COVID-19

My Post (17).pngReady for a positive business story in the era of COVID-19? One of the world’s top self-storage companies has found a way to maintain operations across its thousands of facilities—and keep its large staff employed—through this pandemic.

The company’s strategy: Leverage their cloud-based, work-from-anywhere communications solution to enable everyone in the organization to collaborate, communicate, and serve customers from home.

A Different Type of Disaster Leads to Cloud Communications

The organization actually switched to RingCentral’s all-in-one cloud-communications solution long before the coronavirus outbreak. Senior management decided to move off its legacy phone system, and do so as quickly as possible, when a series of rolling outages took down phone service to many of its locations over the course of a week and a half.

In researching their telephony options, several factors led the IT team to the unified communications solution from RingCentral—including the company’s reputation for platform stability, RingCentral’s ability to implement solutions rapidly for new customers, the wide range of integrated communication features available, and the solution’s future capabilities.

Of course, as it was rolling out RingCentral’s cloud-communications solution to all of its locations and employees, the company had no idea that one of those “future capabilities” would be its ability to respond to a worldwide viral pandemic by transitioning immediately to a 100% remote staff.

A Rollout So Quick and Smooth it Shocked the Company

With contracts signed, the IT team prepared itself and the rest of the organization for what it assumed would be a slow and frustrating migration to their new communications solution—but it turns out the transition period was neither slow nor frustrating. – Read more

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4 Zen Principles to Boost Productivity While Working Remotely

My Post (2).pngToday is an era of nonstop potential distractions from people and inanimate objects alike, all vying for your attention. Combine this with the potential disruptions inherent in a remote work environment, and one might decide getting any peace is for the birds.

While it’s nice to think we can easily ignore these disruptions, the reality is, well, not so much. Research shows that multitasking has a variety of negative effects, from losing up to 40% of productive time, to a shortened attention span, and increased anxiety and depression. And yet almost everyone spends his or her day online, with multiple windows and apps open simultaneously, to theoretically get work done as efficiently and swiftly as possible.

So what’s an overwhelmed person to do—not just in your personal life, but also professionally, where your job performance depends on it?

Do more with less stress by finding the Zen in your work. Organize, streamline, and cut down on your communication clutter to not only increase your productivity, but also to attain peace of mind for the ultimate workday yin-yang.

Here’s how to integrate the wisdom of Zen masters into your everyday remote work environment:

1. Be present.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

The main reason that multitasking feels so overwhelming is because it’s inherently fragmented. Bouncing from email to text to phone calls to video chat entails opening up new apps or programs or picking up a phone—the work of switching between apps is constant. Worse, once you get to where you think you’ll find what you need, you realize that you don’t clearly recall which thread, exchange, or shared file has what you’re looking for in the first place.

A unified communications platform brings everything you need—team messaging, video meetings, voice—together under one virtual roof. All you have to do is open up one program, and from there, your core communication and productivity tools are at your fingertips, including individual or group messaging, file sharing, document storage, team calendar, audio or video meetings, task management, and more. Without having to think about where things are, you have a greater capacity to be in the moment and focus on the tasks at hand.

2. Streamline your workflow.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” ~ Thích Nhat Hanh

In order to get work done, we all have to collaborate with coworkers, colleagues, and customers. Clarity paves the way to a much smoother workflow, so effective project management, where tasks and responsibility are assigned, milestones are defined, and deadlines are set, is crucial. And easily searchable conversation threads, a central location for all work files and folders, and a daily calendar allows you to work seamlessly in concert with your coworkers.

3. Communicate clearly and often.

“If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.” ~ B. D. Schiers

There are times when we all hit walls in our work; from creative blocks to a seemingly endless to-do list, we all have moments when we feel stuck and demoralized. For remote workers in particular, a sense of disconnection and feeling alone in facing challenges can easily happen.

This is where persistent conversation can be enormously helpful. A simple message to check in with team members can be very reassuring. When facing a bigger issue, a quick video meeting can help clarify any misunderstandings and reinforce bonds. – Read more

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