Workday Communication – 7 Tips for When We WFH Together

Hi, I’m Brian and I’m here with Christiann to discuss how we WFH together. Today we are going to discuss communication.

Today we’re going to talk about a couple of topics around communication, including how we communicate our important work times to each other and also how we just communicate during the workday.

Let’s start with how we communicate important work times with each other.

Communicate Work Times When We WFH to Prevent Interruption

“Most of the time, in the mornings, I like to let Brian know how many calls I have, or if I have a lot of virtual class time with students.

Most days have a similar schedule. So it’s easy to work off of a recurring schedule. But, if it’s going to be a day that’s different, it’s important to let each other know. At least give the other person a quick reminder in the morning.

It’s important so that we are not distracting each other. We don’t want to wreck each other’s workflow.” – Christiann

Communicating Work Times for Scheduling Breaks When We WFH Together 

“In addition to preventing interruptions, it’s really great that we let each other know because then we can decide when we’re going to have a break time.

Usually, that means going for a walk around noon. That’s when I usually finish up class time with my virtual students.

On a normal basis, we simply confirm with each other, yeah, let’s go take a walk together and then come back and have our lunch together, too.

But, if we don’t effectively communicate any additional meeting times first thing in the morning, then that can mess with our break time. 

For example, if I’m ready to go right at noon, but you’re busy deep in thought or forgot to communicate an upcoming, then we may not be able to enjoy our break time together.” – Christiann

Yes, I think that’s a really important point. Break time is probably one of the most important times to schedule when you work from home. It’s time that enables you to recharge. Then you get more work done. 

Even if communicating your important work times is only for determining that break time, then I still think it’s really important to do so.

“If I’m going to be home with you, I’d like to have lunch at the same time. It makes it nice if we kind of plan that out because if I had lunch, just a half an hour before you, and then started working again, then you are ready for lunch, it seems like a waste. 

We might as well meet together to have some lunch and get to have some face to face time, especially when you’re working from home, and you don’t regularly see a lot of people. – Christiann

Yes, I think a lot of people would be surprised about the amount of interaction we have during the day, which is sometimes essentially none, even though we’re just 20 feet away from each other. So it’s important that we make sure to schedule break time when we WFH together.

Clear End Times When We WFH Together

Christiann is pretty passionate about communicating our finishing times. I think that’s a topic that’s pretty close to her heart. Even before WFH, she had a strict policy about leaving work on time.

“Yes, I really like to know the end of day work time.

For me, it’s usually at the same time. When I’m teaching virtually, I’m done always done at 4:30 pm. But, I often have side projects that I’m working on. So, I like to plan my day, including finishing times.

Sometimes your partner might work late, maybe 7:30 pm, or even 10:00 pm at night. So it’s important to keep in touch to see how each other’s day is going because finishing times tend to change when something important comes up.” – Christiann

Routine Adjustments Around Work Times When We WFH Together

When you know your finishing work time for the day, it makes it easy to help plan dinner. If I know that you’re going to have a busier day, let the other person know.

It’s important to know those finishing times because it enables you to do more things. Maybe that’s sitting outside in the afternoon or evening. Maybe it’s having a Zoom meeting with our family. Finish times help you plan. 

Prevent Waiting When We WFH Together

Waiting is painful. It’s just no fun at all. That’s why you have to let each other know when you’re finishing work each day.

If you know there’s going to be at least an hour before finishing, then the other person can take care of something else. It’s really important. You don’t want your partner to be ready and waiting with shoes on to go out the door with you when you’re in the middle of important work.

Communication During the Day When We WFH Together

Sometimes you have something to share in the middle of the day. And that’s something that’s going to look a little bit 

I think that it’s always important to ask during work hours, before sharing, if the other person is busy.

“Hey, are you able to listen or are you busy?” 

Sometimes people will give an auto-response when they’re deep in thought. So it’s important to establish if that instant is actually a good time to communicate.

The person may respond with “I just need a few more minutes to wrap up my thinking.” 

If you don’t make sure you’re not interrupting, you may even receive a normal response. But really, whatever the response, what you said just went in one ear and out the other. Being able to pick up on those cues is also incredibly helpful.

The Right Times for Communication When We WFH Together

If you can deliver the message at a later time, then do it.

This can be done by utilizing inboxes. An effective inbox can be as simple as a text message or email. Physical inboxes are also great.

This way you make sure a thought doesn’t get lost, but it will still be handled when the other person is able to handle it best.

Especially non-urgent type messages, like “what are we going to do for dinner?” or “do we want to go out with our friends on Friday night?” If you ask that on a Tuesday at 10 am, it’s easy for someone to say, yes, sure, because they have more important thoughts they are prioritizing during prime work hours.

Then comes Friday, when one person thought we agreed to go to dinner with our friends, and the other person has no idea what I’m even talking about anymore.

Waiting to Communicate When We WFH Together

The point of this is, you have to start asking yourself, “is this something that can wait?”

It’s really important, that can be even more reason to wait. 

Might it cause a fight? Will the other person get upset about it? Don’t do it during that workday. Otherwise, you risk both of your days being messed up because of a conflict.

Save it for the end of the day, after work hours.

Then you can take a walk and just say, “hey, you know, I really didn’t like it today when you said you were going to be ready to go for a walk at 12:30 pm and then it was 1:15 pm and I was still waiting for you.”

Relationship Meetings for When We WFH Together

A relationship meeting is a regularly scheduled time, as frequently as possible, maybe once a month or once a quarter, where you’re going to be somewhere that is relaxing and you’re both in the right mindset to have harder discussions. 

This is a time to discuss important issues, like long-term plans, and those things that are upsetting you about the relationship.

It’s important to have a neutral safe place to bring those thoughts to the table. 

A relationship meeting is a great place for a lot of those discussions that you might want to have during work hours.

“Definitely, I love our relationship meetings, especially if you find a place to kind of make them more relaxing where you feel comfortable, whether it’s going out for coffee or even over like a romantic dinner.

And it’s not just about tough conversations, you can talk about goals, ideas, vacations, and whatever else pertains to the two of you.” – Christiann

We plan to record an entire episode dedicated to helping you get your relationship meeting going. Including what are some great questions to ask each other.

See you in the living room!

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