How to Go Digital in the Post-COVID World

Long before COVID, the digital transition was already well underway. Your company already knew about the internet. If they are like most companies, they were slow to acknowledge mobile. Still, they were making moves in that direction. They were not quite ready for the following transitions:

  1. Work from home
  2. Managing a 100% remote workforce
  3. Developing the skill-set necessary for a digital workflow
Photo by Peter Olexa from Pexels

It is clear that the digital transition in the post-COVID era is well underway. Major societal changes have caused a paradigm shift in the business world. The tremors from those seismic shifts will be felt for decades to come. While COVID will not be here forever, the changes it wrought will be with us through the foreseeable future.

There will always be a need for physical retail locations. But it will no longer play the outsized role in purchasing habits as it once did. The speed of the changes has exposed a severe shortage of talent and know how. Businesses aren’t ready for the digital reality in which they find themselves. If that describes your company, here are some things you will need to learn quickly:

How to Effectively Communicate Remotely

Live communication is always more forgiving. Everything you say is ephemeral. People will hear it once and then recall what you said from memory. They will recall it without all the imperfections of your actual speech. They will also hear your voice unfiltered. If you have speaking challenges, live is the best way to be understood.

Presenting digitally means using a microphone. Unless you have access to a semi-professional broadcast studio, your voice will not sound as good as it does live. Let’s be honest: Your mic and broadcast setup is probably just a half-step above garbage. Your speech will be filtered through that.

It might be time to invest in speech therapy for adults. Your presenters have to be able to clearly enunciate and literally cut through the noise of a less than ideal digital interface. Upgrading your equipment will help. But upgrading your ability to speak well is essential. Otherwise, you will not be an effective communicator in this age of digital communications. In this time of new normal, there are online speech therapy services available to anyone who wanted to improve. These are also accessible and affordable.

How to Recognize the Right Software and Equipment for Digital Communication

Not all meeting software is created equally. Right now, Zoom has a significant lead over Skype in some ways. But Skype still gets the job done for a lot of podcasters. Whichever app you choose, you still have to deal with the very real effects of what researchers are calling “Zoom fatigue” or “video exhaustion”.

The difference in the software often comes down to money. Zoom has a more comprehensive set of features. But it requires a paid subscription to use most of them. If you like to record your meetings and have multiple people on a call, you will typically get better quality from Zoom. Zoom also gives you separate tracks for each participant to make editing a lot easier when doing post-production.

Equipment is another one of those variables that often comes down to price. You don’t need a professional studio. But you should be using a decent webcam, a mid-range USB microphone, and earphones for monitoring. These are not terribly expensive items. Your company should standardize on the equipment and provide it to all your workers for best results.

How to Manage Remote Workers

Remote workers are not like on-prem workers because you can’t get in their face every 10 minutes, look over their shoulder to see what they are doing at all times, and make them pay attention in meetings. That’s a good thing. As it happens, doing all those things is just bad management. You have to treat remote workers like adults and trusted partners. They will pay attention in meetings if you make your meetings engaging. And workers being occasionally distracted by social media is a net positive.

Going digital is an inevitable necessity. For many businesses, COVID just speeded things up. Don’t get left behind. Communicate more effectively. Get the software and equipment that is right for your workforce. And adjust your management culture to better align with the remote workforce reality.

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