Technology and Workplace Communications
There are all types of new technology in the workplace, but one of the areas of business most impacted by new advances is intra-office communication.
A plethora of software programs has been created to make employee communication more effective than ever before. Now coworkers can ping ideas back and forth rapidly, sharing images, files and screenshots to make collaboration effortless.
Too much technology in the workplace can have a distracting effect, making it difficult to focus and tempting to waste time. But on the whole, office communication has seen remarkable improvements over the last few decades thanks to technological advances.
When you can quickly get in touch with someone anywhere in the world, it speeds up the pace of business. Especially for companies with multiple office locations, it’s crucial to be able to send a question and receive an instantaneous answer even if you’re in different time zones. Businesses can rapidly implement new projects and respond to client needs without communication delays.
New office communication tools also save money. While we’ve long had the option of placing a phone call to a branch or client in a different country or state, the price of a long-distance phone call was a significant deterrent. With Skype, instant messaging clients and other options, it’s feasible to exchange quick messages back and forth all day long from across the globe without spending any more money than the price of an internet connection. This also opens up possibilities for employees to work from home or stay connected while they are traveling.
Digital communication is second nature to the millennial generation, who have grown up with computers and the internet as commonplace features of their lives. Even ignoring the other benefits to new communications technologies, it’s necessary for companies to adapt and provide these tools to attract fresh, young talent. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 93 percent of millennials polled responded that modern technology was one of the most important aspects of a workplace.
With an exponentially growing list of options, choosing the best programs to use for office communication can be tricky. It helps to select software that employees may use outside of work and already have familiarity with, such as Google Hangouts and Skype. In general, it’s important to look for options with these general qualities:
- Mobile friendly - so that employees can check in while traveling or not at their desks
- Versatile - enabling the sharing of text, voice, videos, and files
- Easy to use - although millennial employees are experienced with many forms of digital communication, you don’t want to choose anything that will have too steep a learning curve for older employees
Above all, remember that there’s no one size fits all communication tool. Make several available, and inform your team about the best times to use each one. Despite the power of texting clients and instant messaging programs, there are still plenty of circumstances when only a phone call — or a face to face meeting — will do.
Maria Vestal is a writer and comic book fanatic. She writes for her own company blog at Saraval Industries, and a number of other sites. She loves creating discussions and helping people find solutions. Her work focuses on team leadership, organisation, office design and more.
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