What’s the one marketing rule we all know to be true?
If you can get someone to take action at the right moment, magic happens.
What we tend to forget is that this technique should not only be used externally to attract users or customers, but also internally between coworkers. Unfortunately, these basic principles of communication go out the window when we consider how we interact with each other internally, especially communication between leaders and those they’re leading.
As we’re all still figuring out what the most effective and happy way to work in a remote-first environment is, it’s vital that we consider our professional habits and assess how they’re contributing to – or inhibiting – the ways that we work. And if we examine our most fundamental work habit of communicating with our peers, it’s apparent that small actions can have significant impact.
Think about the last time you sent a message to one of your employees. Was that time only convenient for you or did you also take their schedule into account? Ultimately, remote teams default to power dynamics when it comes to responsiveness. No matter what your employee handbook says or how your company stresses work-life balance, if you’re the founder and you’re sending Slacks at 9:00PM on a weekend, your team will feel pressured to respond.
Culture is what we do, not what we say.
Scheduling your messages, no matter the internal team hierarchy, signals to the recipient that you’re being empathetic and conscious of their time. You’re showing that you recognize their priorities might differ from your own, even if you’re both working toward the same goal. You’re showing them that you feel their priorities are just as important as yours. This is huge. Teams that respect each other produce exceptional work. Hierarchies feel less “high,” and work flows more efficiently. Unfortunately, waiting until it is convenient to message your employee might mean that you forget to send it. Message scheduling can easily solve this issue.
Scheduling messages can have a host of cultural and operational benefits, including:
While these actions are small, it is still possible to oversimplify the concept and execute it incorrectly , which will backfire for both you and the rest of the team. Make sure you don’t:
There are plenty of moments when holding off on a send can inhibit innovation and efficiency. If you’re spending all of your time focused on whether or not it’s the right time to send something, you’re wasting valuable time. Frequent, active digital communication can help give some of the feeling of being back around the watering hole, but there’s a time and place for this action.
It’s going to feel annoying at first - extra clicks, extra decisions, a feeling of THIS IS SLOWING ME DOWN! Great organizational habits take some behavior modification and a shift from “this action makes me feel good” to “this action is what’s best for the team.” Ultimately, if you take these small steps, you’ll be the type of considerate, concise, and communicative leader we all hope to work with.
Have you found scheduling messages helpful? Do you have another method that works for your organization? Let us know in the comments! If you want more tips for startups and generalists in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter here!