Communication Best Practices for Virtual Offices

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

What communication practices are best during these times? My team tells me they are getting tired of conference calls and video-chats. I understand completely because we are also on the phone with clients, money managers and analysts all day long. I miss the ability to call a quick meeting and bring everyone into the conference room and talk about an issue, then have everyone go back to their day. Now it is scheduling, confirming, making sure we have an agenda, and doing the follow-ups. My team is weary.

What else should I be doing right to make it easier on them, but not cut off communication entirely? As an aside, one of my most outgoing advisors told me she believes she has become an introvert because she is enjoying being disconnected from everyone as much as possible.


Dear A.B.,

These are ongoing and difficult questions to answer in a one-size-fits-all framework. I have some clients who are saying they might not bring their teams back into the office in 2020. They are figuring out the best way to engage in ongoing communication and make it meaningful and not exhausting. This is going to stay the critical issue for many.

I’m running a webinar for advisors next week on this very topic. I will give you and the rest of our readers a sneak peek into the things I will cover and the answer to your question:

  1. When people are tired and getting weary of communicating in one way all of the time, mix it up and provide different mediums of communication. It sounds like you had an effective way in the past of pulling people together, engaging well and then doing follow up. Now all of your communications are the same and probably not as effective. Start your day and consider what information you’d like to give, or get, from your team and then find ways to outreach differently. For example, could you:
    1. Text a short insight or idea,
    2. Send a series of “yes/no” questions the team could answer via email,
    3. Reach out to one person at a time to talk about their day and their viewpoint,
    4. Record ideas you need the whole team to hear and then broadcast them,
    5. Write a blog and have each person contribute something so you can understand their view and insights – not only will you get good information from team members, but you will gain ideas about things they might want to talk about?