This is the seventh chapter of my Community Manager Diary, and it’s about the importance of communication in coping with the COVID-19 emergency. If you haven’t read the previous chapters of this series, here is a link to the very first article.
Don’t forget about me
After several weeks of lockdown, you are probably getting used to the situation. Kind of. At least, now you have a better idea of how to manage your own time and deal with a new type of schedule. Somehow, you have learned how to divide your time between work and family, and perhaps you have even time to fit in your regular workouts, all without freaking out too much.
But what happens when teams need to interact? The new situation has forced even remote workers to be more visible, reaching out to people more than ever before and using as many communication channels as possible. You are a community manager, so you know that communication is essential, but have you ever wondered why it is so important?
Dear Lockdown Diary
Even though my family is at home, and I’m spending a lot of time in meetings, I have this urge to message all my colleagues and my manager to tell them what I’m doing and why, rather than just asking for help with things that are blocking progress.
Suddenly, I’ve realized that I’m using more tools to communicate and that Slack is not the bad big elephant that eats my RAM (it still does, but I no longer perceive it as negatively as before!).
In the first chapter of my diary, if you’ve been with me all this time you’ll know that I mentioned I don’t consider this a remote/smart working situation. However, I’ve come to realize that I can mitigate the situation by communicating more often, and in diverse ways, with both my colleagues and our communities.
I still don’t love the so-called virtual coffees and WhatsApp video calls, but I must admit that they have helped a great deal – I don’t feel isolated anymore.
Also, I have started to enjoy my more flexible work routine, even though I have also realized that I end up working more hours than the usual 9 to 6. Quite to my surprise, I’ve become more productive now I can spend some quality time away from my computer with my kids!
What makes us Human
However, something fundamental is still missing: human interaction. It’s the foundation of our society – we are social animals after all.
Thankfully, the Internet comes to the rescue. There are a huge number of tools, resources and channels out there to help us stay in touch. Even schools have had to go in that direction.
Lately, two tools in particular are seeing a surge in their adoption rate: Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both have made access simpler to help people during the emergency, while also addressing users’ complaints about privacy and personal information.
At the same time, more and more people, including me, have got acquainted with task managers and the Pomodoro method. The latter is something I would be really keen to use more, but with kids in the house having 30 minutes straight to work on something can be a daunting ask! As a result, I’m concentrating on tools that are focused more on processes than on time management.
Notion has become very useful to me; I use it to write down notes, make tables, insert links or images, and have a Kanban layout for other useful things. Even with the free plan, I can easily share notes with my colleagues, and the ability to embed Google Docs is super helpful for the type of work I do.
The end result is that I have become a more structured and organized person than I ever was. Now I focus on small tasks, one by one, rather than jumping from one to another. Consistency, you might call it.
Communication: we’re here to help
The Coronavirus emergency has been very challenging for everyone, including those who have been lucky enough not to be hit by it, either directly or indirectly (friends). Even for those people who were used to working remotely, like me, consistently working from home is a completely new experience.
Although some aspects of our lives are returning to some degree of normality, even now, if you ask people what they miss the most about their work routine, they will probably answer “seeing colleagues”, “chit-chatting at the coffee machine”, “following up on a meeting while smoking a cigarette outside”, “making jokes”. We have all discovered that communication is quintessential to our nature.
Check out Chapter 8 of Francisco’s diary at this link!