Reducing Stress from Miscommunication when Working from Home

With the majority of the world now experiencing some form of lockdown – working from home has become more popular than ever. The obvious benefits of no commute, no tie, and coffee breaks whenever you like are all great. But what about the negative aspects of working from home?

With so many of your colleagues working remotely, we are now even more reliant on technology for communication. This could be in the form conference technology but the vast majority is still written using emails and workflow software. With this comes the risk of miscommunication and issues of stress in the workforce. 

A new study has found that 76.2% of people said they have misinterpreted messages from colleagues at some point – so most of us are guilty of reading things the wrong way. Similarly, most agreed that there are issues with written communication and that it is much easier to misinterpret information without a face-to-face exchange. 62.6% of those who had misinterpreted a message said that it resulted in an argument or disagreement in their team. This means that a big source of conflict when working remotely is purely down to the fact that it is harder for us to communicate clearly. 

Reducing Stress

With this being a huge risk to workplace conflict, we’ve pulled together some top tips to ensure you don’t make any mistakes and reduce the chances of arguments with colleagues.

Read everything you send twice

Firstly, before you hit send, read it again. It could be that you have misspelled words or structured sentences in a way that makes it hard to understand. Pretend you are reading the text for the first time and that everything is clearly laid out. Don’t forget that the person reading this will probably have less of an understanding of the topic so don’t be afraid to be direct and write in short sentences to ensure you are clear in what you are saying. 

If you are unsure, ask 

Received an email you don’t quite understand? Ask the sender to confirm. Most people don’t mean to be confusing but rather than assuming what has been said, simply email back politely asking the person to further explain what they mean in the parts you are unsure of. This will avoid you misinterpreting the information given and a potential argument. 

Never send messages when you are annoyed

Let’s face it, we all get stressed to some degree at work. It’s usually impossible to avoid this and your focus should be on reducing stress to a minimal amount. If you are annoyed, take a breath and do not respond to the person immediately. It is easy for the tone of the email you send to be harsh in this situation and you can easily end up saying something you wouldn’t when you are calm. Take a minute, calm down and politely speak with the person that makes it clear you wish to resolve the issue together. 

There we go! Our tips for clear communication to reduce stress while working from home are complete. Like your communication should be, they are short and sweet. Just remember that most issues arise through miscommunication so, in these times, it is more important than ever to be clear and concise.