As a sales professional, your primary focus is to push your company’s products/services to your prospects and clients. The importance of being on the road and meeting clients face-to-face is to continue to build your network which is a huge part of a successful salesperson sales strategy. But what if we are not able to meet clients face-to-face and communicate our services? When COVID-19 hit, many industries began to see the cancelation of face-to-face meetings, conferences, and networking events. These cancelations impacted the way sales professionals networked within their industry. How are sales professionals able to communicate to their clients? Additionally, with offices being closed, individuals are reluctant to meet with you face-to-face during these unprecedented times.
The lack of face-to-face interaction also impacted internal communication within organizations. But how does working from home impact relationships within an organization? What challenges do employees face regarding communication? People can utilize Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Talk to arrange a video meeting. But not having the ability to interact with people in the office face-to-face caused a challenge with communication. It is more difficult to build relationships and camaraderie through a computer screen. The so-called water cooler chats between employees talking about the latest office gossip is nonexistent. The lack of personal communication can lead to poor relationships within the workplace.
Another aspect that employees are facing is the lack of culture within an organization. Having the ability to not be able to attend company work events will also negatively impact the employee’s ability to build upon those existing relationships while trying to form new relationships. We see companies starting to implement things like virtual happy hours to improve communication and company culture, but as we can see there is no substitute for personal interaction.
In my past, I worked for a company that we played basketball every Thursday night. Every employee regardless of ability was invited to play. Afterwards, employees typically stuck around and shared a few drinks. We often heard from people not affiliated with the company that this was a great way to build interoffice relationships. But what people on the outside did not realize is that this weekly activity-built office camaraderie, strong interpersonal relationships, and teamwork. We can see how important these relationships are to an organization and the lengths companies go to grow these relationships.
Telecommuting can cause communication challenges within an organization. So how do employees overcome the communication challenges they face when telecommuting? The distinct challenges such as time zones, cultural differences to the sheer unfamiliarity of using web-based tools to communicate created obstacles that every virtual team must work through. But are these challenges going away? Despite these challenges are people going to be called back into their office any time soon. I believe it is in the better interest of the companies to implement measures to ensure that virtual teams have the training and tools they need to communicate effectively. This implementation would greatly enhance the ability to communicate both in a regional environment and globally. Additionally, we hear terms such as real time awareness when it comes to virtual teams. But we know that email is not an effective tool when it come to real time communication. Web based product such as team chats have given the ability to team to communicate in real time regardless of where they are located globally. These types of platforms hold each member of the team accountable and enabled team members to continue to collaborate in person rather than via email.
It’s time to focus on communication. It’s time to embrace the challenge that companies face with communications and lack of face-to-face interactions in this virtual word and start to utilize new technologies. In today’s world, companies have an advantage to open their open positions to candidates across the globe. Virtual teams in today’s workplace are essential to the success of the organizations. Time to embrace change in the virtual world!
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Healy, R. 2012, November 1. 5 challenges of telecommuting and how to overcome them. Retrieved from