Communications etiquette in the hybrid workplace is a challenging topic to address, primarily because every workplace has its own unique culture. Most of the time, the “rules of etiquette” go unspoken. They are learnt by new hires through trial and error, tiny corrections along the way, or maybe not even at all.
It’s a good idea to codify some of the more significant communication behaviours. Help your new joiners with onboarding and to keep the peace amongst colleagues in the office.
Some examples of good communication etiquette include:
- Start with a greeting. A simple “Hi Jane” feels polite and respectful to most people. If you’re used to being formal, you may start with “Dear Mr. Radcliffe”.
- Think before you hit send. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when drafting or replying to an email. Check the CC and BCC fields. Think about the implications of leaving people out, including them, or hiding the fact that you’re copying someone on an email.
- Check your spelling and pronunciation. This is especially important in the UAE where you have expats from all over the world in the workplace. Most people are fairly understanding about it. But spelling and pronouncing their name correctly can go a long way towards building trust.
- Make a commitment. If you’re sent a meeting invite, accept or decline. The efficacy of the meeting may depend on your being there. Committing to one or the other helps the people planning the meeting to manoeuvre and keep things moving forward.
- Respect the call status. If you see someone is on a call, it’s respectful to wait until they’re out before attempting to connect with them.
- Mind your Ps and Qs. Saying please and thank-you are basic manners we learn as children. When you use them in the workplace, you’re creating an environment that feels safe and respectful.
- Do a quick proofread. Before sending an email or text message, take a breath and look it over for spelling or grammar mistakes. Most of the time people will overlook a mistake. But on occasion, a grammar error can result in an embarrassing or offensive moment.
- Think about the time. Time is a very valuable commodity. Before calling or video conferencing with someone, consider whether your objective can be achieved via email or text. If it can, have a plan before calling. Let the other person know how much time you’re asking for and be as concise as possible.
Lastly, ask your team what they want. The above list was created by a group of office workers sharing the difficulties they face on a daily basis due to communication faux pas, errors, or inconsideration.
Your team may have different ideas about what does and doesn’t matter in communication. Send out a survey and see if you can craft an etiquette that makes the work environment seem more friendly and less hostile to everyone.
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