In an era of Casual Fridays and work-from-home colleagues, how can you maintain effective office communication in a changing business climate? Start here. We’ll steer you through changes in everything from business etiquette to teamwork, and help you successfully navigate through the new realities of workplace conflict and office politics.
Here are some frequently asked questions about workplace communication:
Why does workplace communication matter?
Good communication boosts productivity by keeping everyone in the office on the same page. It enables team members to understand objectives and the actions necessary to carry out tasks in a timely manner. Gaps in communication lead to confusion or delay and often trigger conflict among staff members.
Why might verbal communication sometimes be preferable to written?
Talking with an individual or a group allows for conversational back and forth. People easily can pose questions, raise points and ask for clarity. Face-to-face communication provides the opportunity to notice body language, facial expression and tone. These nonverbal cues offer valuable insight into feelings and receptiveness, so people delivering emotional news tend to do it in person in order to better judge reaction.
What are some pros and cons of written communication?
A well-composed piece serves as a good point of reference, especially for detailed info such as instructions and deadlines. Electronic communication is very convenient in that it can be sent and received any time from any place. Blasts efficiently go out to multiple people, ensuring everyone receives the same information simultaneously. However, senders of texts, emails and other forms of written communication must choose their words carefully for the sake of clarity and proper interpretation. Too often, important details get buried under wordiness, or hard feelings result from a recipient misinterpreting the writer’s intentions. And everyone needs to be aware that electronic messages are easy to forward to other people without the originator’s consent or knowledge.
What role does workplace communication play in building trust?
Employees want to know what is going on within their organization. Communicating news, goals, and objectives helps employees feel like part of the larger picture. Plentiful information increases trust and decreases reliance on gossip to fill in the blanks.
Why is feedback so vital to effective communication?
A hidden problem cannot get solved. A worker who doesn’t understand what the employer wants will keep making the same mistakes, so leaders need to give prompt and clear constructive criticism. Likewise, management needs to be receptive to hearing staff concerns and suggestions. Providing multiple outlets for this often sensitive give-and-take encourages both the vocal and those preferring anonymity to contribute. Listening to this feedback can improve company operations and promote employee engagement.
What obstacles might affect good workplace communication?
Distributed teams need to overcome geographical barriers to make sure everyone stays up-to-date. Language obstacles may impede communication in workplaces where workers lack a common native tongue. Similarly, departments within an organization often use their own jargon, which can confuse fellow employees unfamiliar with the terms. Hierarchy can play a part in communication with people of different ranks listening more or less to other people based on their position. And employees suffering from stress or low morale may create psychological barriers to communication, such as failing to pay attention or withholding information.
Why is communication particularly important to remote work?
Out of sight should never mean out of mind. Telecommuting arrangements thrive when both sides prioritize communication. Establishing regular check-ins allows remote employees to ask questions, go over specifics and stay in the loop. Such conversations help leaders keep tabs on progress and potential problems, which discourages the urge to micromanage. And regular communication with colleagues both professionally and socially helps remote workers feel included in the team.