Communicate or Perish

Communication, whether it be in your personal or professional life, is of vital importance.  Having solid communication, or lack thereof, can make or break relationships or even companies.  According to a survey of 400 corporations, it was determined that breakdowns in communication cost an estimated $37 billion per year in lost productivity. While communication in the workplace has always been essential, Covid-19 has reshaped our communication channels.  Many companies have switched from having offices to having employees work remotely from home.  Now, more than ever, businesses are being forced to reevaluate how their employees communicate and place greater emphasis on dissemination and inclusion.

While video conferencing apps such as Zoom have allowed the continued sharing of ideas, these issues are too prevalent to be ignored. A recent poll found that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees in general.  It is important to note that it isn’t simply breaking bad news about no overtime or criticism of their workplace performance but rather ANY form of communication.  These highly disturbing figures illustrate how widespread these problems are.  So, what then can be done to address the difficulties we face when communicating in a professional setting?

Create A Communication Rhythm:

With most of our daily and workplace routines under constant duress from the impact of Covid-19, it can be hard to find times where team members can get together to collaborate.  Scheduling daily or weekly briefings in advance for all team members, and breakout sessions for specific groups of employees, can help with this.  If employees know that every Monday at 9:00am is the weekly video meeting, they can begin the workweek on the same page.  This allows for team members to discuss projects they’re working on, challenges they’re facing and questions they might have.  In this way, we can help to ensure that working remotely doesn’t result in a lack of interdepartmental communication.

 

Regular 1:1s:

Whether it be an in-person sit down or a quick zoom meeting, 1:1 discussions often yield great results.  Many employees can feel overwhelmed or intimidated voicing their opinions in a group setting.  This also allows for direct conversation between managers and employees.  Utilizing this type of direct conversation will create an environment where managers know their employees at a deeper level and where employees feel that their voices are being heard.  Often, seemingly lower-level employees are the most aware of the day-to-day challenges being faced and what can be done to improve operations.

 

Utilize Technology to Facilitate Communication:

Email, and more recently Zoom, have become ubiquitous in the workplace, and rightfully so.  They allow us to write or talk directly with each other whenever and wherever we are.  But many other technologies exist, and we should be taking advantage of them.  Live streams are a great way for people not physically present to still feel like they are.  Messaging apps can permit employees to communicate directly without having to fill their inboxes or feel like each message needs to be formal.  Team spaces, whether it be a virtual bulletin board or document sharing, allow departments to talk issues out, get organized, and develop content together.

 

While Covid-19 has reshaped our workplace, it doesn’t have to mean an end to interpersonal connection or a lack of productivity.  In fact, according to a recent study by Stanford University, employees who work remotely showed a 13% increase in productivity. If we implement new ways for team members to communicate, collaborate and share ideas, the new work environment may just turn out to be better than ever. Oster and Associates has been helping evolve brands over the past 35 years. If your brand needs help communicating with customers, please schedule a free consultation with our experienced marketing team.