Let’s be real: Working from home can be pretty sweet. Your commute is in steps rather than miles, your cat is your coworker and you only have to be business-casual from the waist up! That said, virtual work presents its own unique challenges. How can I communicate effectively over an instant message? How can I make my voice heard in a Zoom meeting? How can I stay confident in my ideas when I can’t even see my team members?
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone. At Traction® Tools, all our workers are remote, and we know from experience how hard it can be to feel self-assured while sitting on the couch. But we also have a few tricks up our sleeves to get you there!
Getting everyone on the same page when working remotely isn’t easy. Actually, it’s downright hard. Things have a tendency to slip through the cracks, which can (unfortunately) lead to feeling unseen and unheard, which definitely isn’t good for your confidence levels.
Our number one recommendation for virtual teams is to over-communicate. Talk about everything, whether it’s via email, chat or video call. Give yourself a chance to be heard multiple times, in multiple ways. Don’t be afraid to bring the same thing up multiple times! If you’re struggling with the communication funnel, chances are that your team is, too, and will appreciate the reminder. If it helps, come up with a documented process for communication. Consider things like:
- What communication channels will we use? When?
- How often should teams receive updates and feedback?
- How should we handle communication breakdowns?
2. Turn off your Zoom self-view
Staring at yourself during a meeting is weirdly intoxicating. We’ve been there. But sometimes, it can be distracting to watch yourself speak — and it can definitely affect how you communicate. If you find yourself having a hard time staying focused in virtual meetings, try turning off your self-view. Your teammates will still be able to see you, and you’ll be able to concentrate on the matter at hand.
3. Strike a pose
Body language isn’t just for interpersonal communication; it can be used to boost your confidence even when you’re alone! If you’re feeling nervous or unsure at work, do a body language audit.
- Sit up straight
- Uncross your legs
- Put your shoulders back
- (Bonus) Put your hands on your hips for a hero pose
These seem like small changes, but improving your body language has a direct impact on your brain’s feel-good chemicals, leading to a sunnier disposition and (you guessed it!) increased confidence.
4. Get gussied up
When you work from home, it’s super tempting to rock sweatpants all day, every day. But, like body language, our clothing choices directly affect our emotional state. Before you start your workday, try changing into a full work-ready outfit (complete with shoes).
Think of it almost like a change in scenery; it’s a small change that can seriously help you get in the right mindset.
And hey, if you feel confident in sweatpants, more power to you!
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Being physically separated from your team can leave you feeling like a one-man band. If you’ve shifted to working from home within the last year, you’re probably still getting used to the new normal, and it isn’t always easy — and that’s okay! In fact, it’s completely normal. Remember: Even though you’re working virtually, you aren’t alone, and your peers are probably feeling the same way.
When you’re feeling unconfident, try reaching out to your team. Be open and honest about how you’re feeling, and listen to their experiences. Sometimes, all you need is to know that you’re not alone, and your team can be the exact support network you need to help replenish your confidence level.