Working from home is nothing new, as companies big and small permanently implement this setup. Even though we can say that it has been a while since it began, communicating in the virtual workplace may still be a struggle for some people. That’s why it is crucial to recognize that there is a real difference between communicating face-to-face and online.
You’re probably reading this post because you want to learn to be more supportive and approachable to your colleagues. It’s a wise idea, especially nowadays when messaging with officemates can sometimes make or break strong relationships on your team. Luckily, we’re guiding you through five messaging tips: from knowing the white heart meaning and sending its emoji–to simple ways to show empathy and appreciation.
- Loosen Up and Use Emojis
Have you ever read articles that discourage people from using emojis in the workplace? Yep, certain people like to say that using emojis is “unprofessional” or informal. Probably it’s because we know that everyone usually enjoys emojis in casual conversations, so it makes sense if you feel torn whether or not to use them at work. Though shouldn’t you use emojis in emails and communication platforms?
Unless HR or your supervisor explicitly discourages you from doing so, by all means, use emojis! It would be wise to use them as moderately and appropriately as possible, especially with colleagues you aren’t close to yet. Don’t hesitate to send an occasional smiley emoji along with any message. If you’re afraid of sending mixed signals with the Red Heart emoji, the White Heart emoji should be your safest bet! The heart can convey warmth and appreciation without any hints of malice or romance. It’s perfect to use, especially when saying that a teammate did a great job on a task.
A single emoji can be very helpful in expressing a mood or vibe to your closest friends in the company. They are fun to use because they can be expressive without saying too much. And lastly, it’s an excellent reminder to your teammates that you are not a robot who doesn’t have emotions!
- When Giving Feedback: Use First-Person Plural Pronouns
Part of everyone’s professional growth is constructive criticism, and it becomes crucial, especially if you’re a senior member of your team whose job is to provide feedback. So, how should you give feedback to a teammate?
Try to imagine someone telling you the following imperatives:
- Polish your work before turning it in tomorrow
- Make your charts more visible
- Beat your deadlines next time
These reminders or “orders” are in Second-Person pronouns, which, as you would notice, can sound a little bossy, impersonal, or too uptight. Now, let’s try transforming them by using First-Person Plural pronouns:
- Let’s do our best to polish our work before turning it in tomorrow
- Let’s try to make our charts more visible
- Let’s strive to beat our deadlines next time
Indeed, you don’t want to seem too friendly to your teammates, especially when the stakes are high! However, choosing the best pronouns can make a huge difference in building trust and strong relationships–and more so with new colleagues. First-Person Plural pronouns effectively make you sound more warm, inclusive, and approachable. Try using these pronouns and see how your teammates appreciate you whenever you give feedback.
- Constantly Check in on Your Teammates
Virtually working on a team has its challenges, especially when its size is big. You will notice when you and a colleague won’t get to chat for a month! It is entirely different, as opposed to regularly bumping into them in the hallway. Understandably, things can get pretty busy; however, if you ever find yourself with a bit of downtime, it would be friendly and thoughtful to say hi!
Send a friendly message with a bit of humor like:
“We haven’t spoken in a while, and I have absolutely nothing to say. But I just wanted to say hello. Hello!”
You may also try offering some help to a new colleague who might still be adjusting to the company:
“I know these past weeks may be a lot to take in, but know that I’m just here if you have any questions or need help with anything! :)”
However, you and all your teammates don’t need to be best buds. It won’t hurt to check on them if you have a spare minute. You’ll never know when they might be going through an impossible task that they wouldn’t accomplish without your help!
- Respond to an Ignored Public Comment
Company group chats can get awkward when you accidentally say something wrong or when no one acknowledges what you said. If you don’t want this to happen to you, perhaps you wouldn’t like this to happen to someone on your team as well. As a show of support, react or respond to a seemingly-ignored message from a teammate–more so if you believe it deserves a response. This simple gesture can show how big of a team player you are and that your teammates would see that you are on their side.
You may also respond to them in a private message if they do the same thing to you! It could also be a private message for any of the following sample scenarios:
- “Thanks for asking questions about my proposal! I was hoping someone would notice the third item of my pitch!”
- “Congrats on your promotion! You’ve been working so hard.”
- “Thanks for mentioning it on the group chat! I thought I was the only one who noticed the issue!”
- Always Show Empathy
When you learn that a teammate is going through a rough time in their personal life, don’t forget to show empathy. Try to avoid interrogating them by asking for more details or demanding updates like:
“What is your current situation, and how are you and your family coping with this?”
You can offer condolences or resources instead. Try saying something as simple as:
“Extending my deepest condolences, I’m sorry you’re going through that. Please let us know what we can do to help you during this difficult time.”
Also, remember to send it in a separate email or message! As a way to be courteous and sensitive, never include it in an email related to work or business. This little detail would make a huge difference when you show that you care about a teammate.
As the saying goes, “Good intentions with a bad execution are still bad.” Communication with teammates virtually is a skill. So, we genuinely hope that these tips will help you exercise good communication skills, especially now that most of us are still working from home. Be sure to check out EmojiGuide.com if you want to learn about emojis and how to use them!