Here are three words of advice to communicate well: Make it count.
Sending mass emails or holding unnecessarily frequent meetings can test employees’ patience and distract them from higher-priority work. Every time you convey nonessential information—or reinforce messages that people have already heard repeatedly—you risk undermining productivity and stoking staffers’ ire.
Both off-site employees as well as office staffers would rather field phone calls than multiple emails or in-person meetings, according to a recent study by Kathryn Fonner at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Michael Roloff at Northwestern University. By covering a series of concise points when you call, you can get your message across while minimizing distractions.
Fonner and Roloff suggest that executives provide information “stores” for employees to access data whenever they need it. They also recommend leaders allow employees to set aside blocks of quiet time for concentrated work free from incoming calls and emails.
Don’t equatewith overcommunicating with your team. You risk overkill if you keep sending emails or hosting meetings in an effort to foster camaraderie. Overly long emails that include lots of attachments are particularly off-putting.
The study, which included 89 telecommuters and 104 office-based respondents, also found that executives who limit interruptions reduce employees’ stress.
— Adapted from “Too many work emails?,” Rachel Emma Silverman, The Wall Street Journal.