As technology progresses, the ways in which people communicate in the workplace also change. Traditionally, an employee could walk over to a coworker’s desk to ask them a question or even have a relaxing non-work related chat. Today’s workplaces are filled with digital ways to communicate such as email, instant messaging and chats. But leaders in any workplace should take measures to mitigate any digital communication mishaps or miscommunication.
Benefits of Digital Communication
Miscommunication sound scary? Before you ban all digital communications in your practice, here are some reasons why you should allow employees to use digital communications tools.
- Efficiency – It can be much faster for an employee in the front of the building to IM another employee in the back of the building a quick question instead of walking to the office and potentially getting caught in casual conversations along the way.
- Convenience – Logistically, everyone communicating digitally throughout the day can fit your team’s needs better than communicating traditionally.
- Cohesion – Perhaps you have part of your team in the office and part of your team remote or at another location. Communicating digitally can help your team be connected and responsive no matter where they are.
Implementing Digital Communications
So, what can you do to encourage digital communications in the workplace while ensuring everyone stays focused on their jobs and preventing miscommunication? Believe it or not, successfully adding digital communications to your workplace is as simple as choosing your platforms and relaying some simple use policies.
When choosing a platform, speak with your IT professional about what will work best to accommodate your employees’ devices and their needs. For example, some instant massagers are not compatible with both Macs and PCs or other devices. Another issue you may find is compatibility with those in the office and those outside the office.
Some simple use policies may include:
- Requiring everyone to use the same email and instant message or chat system.
- Prohibiting use of anything outside of the designated systems.
- Prohibiting giving criticism or responding to criticism.
- Prohibiting other situations that can be lost in translation such as coaching, confrontations or gossip.
- Requiring sensitive information to only be transmitted through secure communications such as secure email.