The Impact of Technology on Workplace Communication
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Technology has drastically changed work environments and workplace communication. Computers, email, internet, and other desktop applications have reshaped the functionality of your typical office, increasing interactions and productivity. This new way of working improves a company’s ability to connect and collaborate. It also allows for the flexibility of remote work.
Why Communication is Important
It’s no secret that communication is key. Without a healthy level of communication, employees can feel isolated, collaboration efforts can fall apart, and important information can fall between the cracks. Studies have shown that miscommunication in companies of 100 employees can cost an average of $420,000 per year. Bump that number of employees up to 100,000 and the average cost per company jumps to $62.4 million per year. Luckily, the tools and technology of today make it easier than ever to openly communicate and work together.
Connection and Collaboration
In the past century or so, workplace communication has gone from being mostly done on paper to mostly done online. Gone are the days of handwritten memos and having to print every document you’d like to share. (Yay for more sustainable communication!) Now we have digital platforms for these efforts.
Email and team chat platforms create fast, real-time communication between employees. Conversations can be one-on-one or separated into groups for specific topics or objectives. These digital conversations create easier documentation for employees to reference at a later time. Many of these platforms also include the ability to share screens, video chat, file share, and more, further increasing how employees can interact and connect. Additionally, employees are often able to integrate these tools with other essential applications they use throughout their workday. These may include other collaborative platforms for simultaneously working on documents and managing projects.
With more connectivity, comes more flexibility. In the past few years, working remotely has become increasingly common. A New York Times’ survey found that “43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely.” Thanks to technology, it’s possible for many people to work from anywhere without it being a detriment to the communication and collaboration of their team. This could mean simply working from home on days you feel under the weather, working from another location while traveling, or working remotely full-time. Recently, we’ve seen many companies implementing remote work policies to adapt to the coronavirus crisis.
While technology brings a lot of benefits to the table, it is critical to know when and how it should be used. There should be intentionality behind how we choose to communicate. Choosing the right form of communication for certain information and situations is an important part of being efficient.
Companies should consider outlining best practices for their employees to follow. These practices should include things like knowing what information and formality is appropriate for instant messaging vs. email vs. in-person. Digital communication is great, but sometimes it’s best to just pick up the phone, swing by someone’s desk, or meet face-to-face. Companies should also include clear time windows for contact. Because technology allows us to connect from almost anywhere at any time, it can blur the line between work and personal hours, negatively affecting the work-life balance of employees.
Clear, open communication and easier collaboration can turn any company into a well-oiled machine. By utilizing the capabilities provided by technology, businesses can work more efficiently than ever – just another way tech has impacted our society as a whole.
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