Email is a convenience that the majority of modern American workers have come to rely on as a staple form of workplace communication. It's fast, foolproof, and gets the job done. With the prevalence of 24/7 email culture, some like Hannah Jane Parkinson at The Guardian, think it's having a negative impact on our lives. When not waking us up in the middle of the night, email is a fact of life and work we've come to need. Therefore, in-person meetings may seem obsolete. When we can check in with emails, why ever talk to another person again? Many of us find ourselves stranded in a "meeting that could have been an email." But according to research, that's not necessarily the case.

As one might imagine, just as a text message is not an adequate replacement for a phone call, an email doesn't always capture what a speaker intended. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Journal, studies have shown that people do not get a full understanding from just an email.

It's long been known that only 7% of communicated information is verbal. That means that 93% of information is inferred by gestures, tone, non-verbal cues, feedback and context.

Author and associate Management professor at Oral Roberts University, David Burkus, also reports that people wrongly assume context and tone in an email, and when sending, are overconfident that their tone is communicated clearly. Studies at New York University concluded that people were more likely to misjudge and stereotype a potential employee candidate over email than over the phone.

While emails are great for relaying quick, factual information such as memos, reminders, documents or deliverables, meetings are preferable for more abstract concepts, brainstorming, and assessment. Meetings also allow for more voices to be heard, and for new ideas to be generated. Email threads can get messy, and while they are a good way to record the train of thought between parties, they ultimately stunt organic conversation.

Especially in a business that has client interaction, face-to-face meetings are a must. A voice on the line does not substantiate a real and complete connection. Even if these meetings are less often, employees and business owners should make them count.

In the end, an efficient process is about the balance between in-person meetings and follow up emails. Written documentation is important, but it should not be the sole form of communication.

Here's a tip: bring food to your meetings, and then your employees will want to have them all the time!

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.