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Communication: How We Have Adapted During a Pandemic

By SRAI News posted 10-16-2020 11:44 AM


Communication: How We Have Adapted During a Pandemic

Continuing our series of articles related to the research administrator and COVID-19, we found some interesting results specific to the pandemic’s impact on how we communicate. Based on a recent survey we conducted, responses showed that before the outbreak, 44% of research administrators preferred to communicate in person while 56% preferred to communicate via email or phone. Now, in the midst of the pandemic, there has been a seismic shift in how people communicate. During this mandated work from home period, over 70% prefer email while 29% do more phone or video conference calls. As we begin to return to a “new normal,” 26% expect a return to and a preference for communicating in person as opposed to 62% via email, 9% via video conference, and 3% via phone. As COVID-19 has disrupted the typical office dynamics of face-to-face communication and meetings, we thought it might be useful to provide some tips and tricks for email and video communication.

Here are our favorite email etiquette tips:

  1. Be clear, concise and consistent; your primary thought or question should both lead and end the communication.
  2. Know your audience; consider who needs to be on the email and whom you expect to respond.
  3. In the subject line, consider adding FYI, Action Item. Make the subject specific so the recipient has a heads-up regarding content  before delving into the body of the email.
  4. When sending to a group or list serve; enter group in the CC or BCC line rather than the To line in order to eliminate recipients replying to all and over-filling inboxes.
  5. Proofread your email for spelling and tone.
  6. Be polite and try using positive language whenever possible.

If interested in more tips, see the following links:

Video conferencing has become a central form of group communications; here are a few tips:

  1. Practice, especially if you are presenting on a platform new to you; test your camera, sound, and microphone.
  2. If you cannot make the meeting via your computer, ensure there is a way to call in  before the meeting starts.
  3. Place your computer, laptop, or tablet in a well-lit area with the camera angled at your face or down slightly. This prevents nose shots.
  4. Look at what is behind you. Consider a virtual background if your surroundings are likely to distract.
  5. Mute your audio if there is a presentation or main speaker, particularly in larger groups. This keeps distractions for the speaker to a minimum.
  6. Allow at least 10-15 minutes between meetings, just as you would while at the office to alleviate “ Zoom” fatigue.

If interested in more information, the following links provide more tips and tricks:

During this time, it is critical that we stay connected and communicate regularly with each other. Try to build in regular communications (at least weekly) with your team and other favorite people on campus.

Authored by

kakioka.png Katrina Akioka, Research Administrator, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center tcaban.png Theresa R. Caban, CRA, Manager Clinical Trials & Industry Contracts, Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation