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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Doing business without a personal touch

Delaware Public Media

With many different businesses asking their employees to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, new challenges are arising for companies that rely on in-person interaction to get work done.

Delaware Public Media’s Nick Ciolino recently spoke with University of Delaware Associate Professor of Management Kyle Emich about how some Delaware sectors are dealing with those challenges.

Employees at countless businesses across the country are working from home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

That means moving to online platforms for meetings.

There are several challenges that come with a virtual workspace, including reading social cues correctly and working interdependently.

UD Associate Professor of Management Kyle Emich says these challenges can be solved. He calls video meetings the best solution.

“If it’s richer, it’s better. If it’s more like one-to-one, face-to-face communication, it's going to be better for people to be able to communicate and understand each other.” 

Taking the time to foster psychological safety is another must. Emich argues it falls to team leaders to motivate and instill confidence in technology usage.

Emich says there can even be benefits to online meetings.  He notes that under normal circumstances, allowing employees to work from home a few days a week can ease the strain on long-distance commuters.

“Is it possible for a company to take that into consideration and say y’know that's okay every once in a while. We really wanted you to come in in the past but now if you want to work from home one day a week if that’s easier for you, we have this technology set up so you can do that.”

But Emich says that for virtual meetings to be effective, team leaders must ensure employees understand the tasks they are given and how to complete them.