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Include Me Out

Bob Goldman on

Let's face it: Our new work-from-home lifestyle has created many wonderful new business opportunities for consultants.

I'm talking about IT consultants, who are using their Ph.D.s in computer science to advise you on how to insert wacky beach backgrounds in your Zoom feed. I'm also talking about fashion consultants, who will help you create your Zoom-friendly power look, not easy to do when you're wearing pajamas from the waist down. (And do, indeed, wear pajamas. We may be remote, but we're not animals.)

Most of all, I am talking about management consultants, like Heidi Lynne Kurter, whose recent post on Forbes, "How to Build an Inclusive Virtual Culture With These 4 Effective Strategies," is at the forefront of timely consulting in the virtual age,

If you are a manager, this kind of information is vital for your success. If you work for a manager, this kind of information is vital for keeping your manager from becoming a success so you can take over their job.

Kurter starts the discussion by citing research from FinanceBuzz that shows 46% of workers "feel isolated from their team." Not a surprising finding, really, since most workers are at least 20 miles from their nearest team member, and both of you are afraid to leave your bedrooms.

Another tasty tidbit of research comes from the Center for Talent Innovation, which reports that "39% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally."

 

For me, a phone call every 15 minutes is a reasonable frequency for a check-in, especially if you make the call from behind a hedge outside your teammate's home. Granted, it is difficult to walk the line between concerned colleague and stalker, but you can thrash all that with the police when the squad car comes to take you in.

Consultant Kurter also believes in the benefit of overcommunication. "Redundancy or repetition prevents misinterpreted, erroneous or the loss of information when transferring from one person to another," she writes. To help you determine the number of times to communicate a message, adopt the "rule of 7." This rule "suggests an individual needs to hear a message seven times before they will consider taking action."

Of course, it might be a tad mind-numbing to repeat everything seven times (try saying your manager's favorite motivator, "you're an idiot," seven times, and you'll see what I mean). That's why consultants recommend utilizing different types of media to deliver the message, including "email, Slack channels, Zoom video calls or text message." I recommend you add billboards, carrier pigeons and notes tied on bricks thrown through living room windows.

If your teammate doesn't get the message at this point, give up. Just sweep up the glass before you go.

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