The workplace has always been a smorgasbord, where people of different backgrounds, generations, interests and even specializations can unite to work towards a common organizational goal. Communication is the tool that mends individual differences in employees and facilitates progress. As most firms and employees are experiencing, communication has been taxed by the new digital front we have entered.
There is a lot to appreciate about working from home. There is no commute and perhaps you were not the biggest fan of your coworkers. However, at the firm-level productivity can be challenged. Conference rooms that were once used for daily, weekly, and monthly check ins have gone months collecting dust with unoccupancy. Instead, online platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become the forefront of human-to-human interactions.
It feels as though the passing conversations about weekend plans and the weather have been lost in the transition to email dialogues. The impersonal nature of digital communications can also heavily impact employee client communications. In theory, emails are a way to get down to the main point and directly convey information. However, in practice emails do not convey tone and are prone to miscommunication. When emails are being sent amongst multiple participants, delivery delays and asynchronous responses can lead to confusion and misdirection. Thus, what starts as a straightforward message can end up as a game of telephone.
In order to avoid assumptions and gaps in communications… (continuing on with communication suggestions based off of positive experiences and communication woes in the bullet points below).
- Forced increase in employees working from home
- Decreased face to face interaction
- Employee dependence in email due to convenience
- Lack of face to face interaction having a negative impact on client relationships
- Lack of ability to get in a room and solve issues at hand
- Potential impact on team oriented projects without a strong leader
- Emails go around in circles opposed to getting problems solved
- Emails have no tone and/or connotation, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks
- Miscommunications can happen more frequently
- Younger staff are more hesitant to pick up the phone