Back in the day, diving into your inbox was an exciting thing.
Sure, this was back when AOL was dubbed the king of online communication. But nonetheless, it was still an exciting part of your day — someone, somewhere wanted to communicate with you digitally.
Since then, email has mutated into an unbeatable three-headed monster, and you could say that it’s lost its appeal.
At the same time, using the phone to communicate was a perfectly normal part of your day. But now, people will do almost anything to avoid actually talking on a phone.
When was the last time you willingly spent more than five minutes on a phone call? If you’re a millennial, the answer to that question is probably never. Weird, but true.
Despite how far (or not far) communication has come, it’s still a critical component of a business.
Without open and consistent communication in the workplace, operational gaps will be created. These gaps will lead to issues that expand to cover collaboration, employee morale, customer service, and much more.
Because of this, it’s more important than ever to find simple and effective ways to improve how your team communicates. Here are a few suggestions to get your company headed in the right direction.
People like to say that there are too many communication platforms available, which is why things can get hectic and fall through the cracks. But while instant messaging might appear like “just another platform,” it really isn’t.
Instant messaging between coworkers (and in some instances, between partners and clients) is a simple way to reduce the number of emails you receive, increase efficiency, and open up communication.
In fact, stat after stat after stat all claim that instant messaging cleans up your inbox.
Consider a tool like Slack.
This instant messaging platform can enable communication between individuals, teams, or an entire company. It allows people to share images, documents, and links and gives users the ability to search for previous conversations. As a result, teams can avoid the inbox for internal conversations and only use it to communicate with external parties.
Some companies (like Spark Camp) can deploy a tool like Slack and operate email-free for weeks.
Instant Messaging in the Workplace
Although people say they are just as productive or more productive with instant messaging apps in the workplace, things can still get pretty confusing. This is especially true if your team isn’t completely sold on one platform.
In other words, they like to jump from one platform to the next and have no real reason to justify all the jumping. When this happens, coworkers will never know when or where to expect what.
If this is the case, then your company needs to establish some guidelines. These guidelines should dictate when an employee should consider using email, instant messaging, video, phone, and other company tools. This will help keep everyone on the same page.
To limit confusion, you should make these guidelines as simple as possible. Here’s a sample set:
- All internal communication should be handled on the company’s selected instant messaging platform.
- All external meetings that involve projects, reviews, or other visual elements should be conducted with the designated videoconferencing software and equipment.
- All external conversations should be managed through your company email account.
- Any emails exceeding 300 words should be followed up (or replaced) by a phone call.
It’s much more realistic to have a video conference now than it was 10 years ago. At this point, nearly everyone has easy access to videoconferencing equipment and software.
Cameras are built-in to most connected devices. Webcams can be as inexpensive as $15 a pop. And sometimes, the only thing required to use certain videoconferencing software is a log-in and an internet connection.
With the rise of remote workers and the lengthening of the average workday, video conferences have become more important than ever. People simply don’t have the time or the opportunity to meet in person — but it’s still critical to actually see people during a meeting.
Here are a few great software solutions to consider for your next video conference:
The workday isn’t just about communication. It’s also about working.
It’s important to understand just how much time daily communication can consume in your workday.
This won’t just help you understand how much time you spend emailing people or how long the average video conference lasts. It’ll also help you understand where operational gaps exist — because, let’s face it … you shouldn’t need to communicate about absolutely everything. Sure, you should have the ability to communicate 24/7, but you shouldn’t actually communicate 24/7.
No one would get anything done.
You could track your time manually, but that would probably defeat the purpose. Instead, technology can help.
Tools like RescueTime run discreetly in the background on your computer and track all the time you spend on different apps and websites. It’ll even provide you with detailed reports on what your day looks like and allow you to create custom time alerts or to block sites altogether.
Even if it isn’t a company-wide initiative, it’s a great tool for individual productivity. It’ll show you where your time is going and reveal insight to help you get that time back.
These are just a few of the ways your team can promote better all-around communication. You can also use team apps to manage projects and tasks, rely on workflow automation to automatically organize and sort important messages, and even watch webinars, read books, and subscribe to blogs to remain up-to-date on modern communication tools.
But whether or not your company decides to implement any of these ideas isn’t the point. The point is that you’re actively seeking out ways to improve how your company communicates, and that’s the beginning of something great.
If you’d like to chat more about communication in the workplace, then send us a message or give us a call today. We provide SMBs in Detroit and Southeast Michigan with modern communication solutions, and we’d love to help your business, too.