The most ironic thing about the smartphones is that people don’t use them to talk using voices anymore. Nowadays I received more voice calls from bitcoin salespersons than my friends. But that’s fine because at least I still get to meet my friends in person over coffee.

Today at work, we mostly conduct our conversations over emails and chats. However, at the start of a new project it’s better to organise a team meeting – if not in person, via voice or video call. After that it’s okay to follow up with emails or pinging people on Slack.

You are likely to solve complicated problems quicker by picking up the phone, because listening to someone’s voice and having a face-to-face interaction could soften and humanise the situation.

Conversations over emails can sound pretty cold and distant. So, you have to word them carefully as not to sound blunt or being misunderstood.

In more than one occasion, I have witnessed a simple problem escalated into a full-blown passive aggressive group email or chat threads – simply because the project lead hesitated to take the reign and pick up the phone for a quick chat.

Of course, we assume everyone in the team have the same level of emotional intelligence but in the real world, sometimes that’s not the case.

Ignore human interface at your peril

One of the worst communication examples I’ve had experienced from a tech organisation where the CMO didn’t even call a face-to-face group meeting in the beginning of a massive rebranding project. Needless to say, 12 months down the line the project was a total chaos, team members left one by one and the brand came out looking pretty average despite the expensive price tag.

You are likely to solve complicated problems quicker by picking up the phone, because listening to someone’s voice and having a face-to-face interaction could soften and humanise the situation.

It’s all fine to use Slack, Trello or Jira platforms to track progress – but if there’s no human interface holding the team together, the team will run into conflict and will be delayed at decision making.

Also, remember to apply compassion. Don’t underestimate that your colleagues are capable to empathise if you face difficulties at work or in personal life.

There’s a more open attitude about mental health issues at work today. Seek support from HR or talk to a colleague. That’s why we work in a team.

Organise a coffee catch-up or breakfast meeting once in a while to break the monotony.

Zarina Holmes is a Creative Director and Founder of GLUE Studio.
linkedin.com/in/zarinaholmes

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