Poor communication can cost your company big bucks, says a study on communication pain points in small and mid-sized businesses. On average, the study reported that as many as 17.5 hours were lost per employee, per week due to communication lapses, including distractions from unwanted communication, waiting for information, and struggling to coordinate team members. Business communication technologies can help break down barriers to productivity in the workplace and make collaboration easier. Here are three of our favorites:
1. Instant Messaging
Lately, it seems that email has been going the way of snail mail -- there’s still a place for it, but it just doesn’t happen fast enough to suit the needs of today’s businesses. That’s where instant messaging comes in. Pretty much anything email can do, like file sharing and private or group conversations, IM can do faster, without the distraction of spam and with a few added features.
Presence indicators are vital when remote workers and on-the-go employees are the new norm. Built into instant messaging tools, employees can set their presence to indicate whether they’re available to talk, busy, not to be disturbed, or simply not working. Alongside flexibility, the workforce is increasingly valuing work/life balance, and the ability to set boundaries on when they’re available with the click of a button can go a long way towards employee satisfaction.
In addition, communicating over messaging tools just feels more natural. Inboxes are formatted so that emails can be read like letters -- each one discreet from another, with different subjects indicating different conversations. While this can be a useful way of organizing information, it’s not generally how people talk. Over instant messaging, information is instead divided by the people you talk to, and no barriers exist between one thought and the next, allowing conversation that mimics speaking in-person.
2. Project Management Software
While many people pride themselves on their multitasking ability, the reality is that dividing your attention between too many things actually damages productivity. When businesspeople are juggling meetings, phone calls, emails, and more, it’s easy to lose track of what needs to be done.
Utilizing project management software can eliminate the guesswork in day-to-day work. Members of a team can collaborate on projects, delegate tasks, and get updates on progress and deadlines. Used effectively, you can eliminate the loss of productivity that comes from waiting on someone else’s contribution.
3. Video Conferencing
While the flexibility of working from anywhere can give employees options, it also has the unfortunate effect of removing the face-to-face contact people experience when working in the same location. Face-to-face contact builds trust, and is less likely to result in misunderstanding than communicating via messages or email.
Luckily, video conferencing communication technologies have improved to bring personal touch back into long-distance communication. Not only can you arrange face-to-face meetings with remote employees, but video conferencing is also useful to build better relationships with busy clients and establish rapport with contract workers.
Establishing these technologies as part of your unified communications strategy within your company can help you reclaim the productivity that today’s fast-paced workplace demands. Learn more about how improving your communication technologies can solve your office problems by downloading our eBook below: