This article is a part of The Human-Centered Work Project, a hub of research-based insights and resources on redesigning work.
Transparency around internal communication norms helps everyone feel they have the tools to be successful in their roles. At AnswerLab, we developed a set of research-based guidelines that set the tone for how we work together, foster trust and open communication, and instill a sense of calm across our teams, regardless of timezone or role.
As our team transitioned to working fully from home this year, we did internal research to find out what was working and what wasn’t. In the process, we learned that many AnswerLabbers wanted more guidance on internal communication, Slack etiquette, and generally how to think about being available and responsive to clients and colleagues. So you can learn from what we learned, we’re sharing access to our playbook.
Trust is the bedrock of an inclusive workplace.
Remote workers can experience anxiety if they feel pressure to continuously prove to coworkers or managers that they are “there.” This continuous, low-grade stress stems from a fundamental lack of trust between employers and employees that is unfortunately the norm in many companies. This mistrust can stem not only from adverse company norms around communication, but also a lack of established expectations altogether. If internalized by employees, these create an anxious and hyper-responsive culture.
We are on a journey to rewrite all of that. It’s not easy as these norms have been deeply internalized over time. Letting our team know that trust was implicit needed to be our first step. As a starting point, we created this playbook to foster more calm, peace, and well-being for our diverse team — hand-in-hand with doing the rigorous, deep work and partnering that delights our clients.
- Access our playbook to use or customize as you see fit to create a set of communication and availability norms in your team or organization.
- Ask yourself how you support values of flexibility and trust to help your employees do their best work.
About the author:
|Mitra Martin, Senior UX Researcher and Learning Experience Designer
Learn more about Mitra.
Tools you can use and customize to take action with your team, organization, or community.
Use this discussion guide to conduct listening sessions with your own BIPOC employees about their experiences.