Monday morning, while some start it with a spring in their step, others have come to dread it. Sifting through a cluttered email box is not exactly a great way to begin the work week, but unfortunately, this remains a reality for many.
Good collaborative practices foster productivity, higher value tasks, a sense of community and transparent processes. On the one hand, the past years have seen a rise in workplace communication tools to harness our overzealous exchanges. On the other hand, we’ve just passed the tipping point of smartphones over portable and desktop computers in our daily use of information tools. What does this mean? People are doing more and more things on the go and multitasking.
Are companies’ daily routines reflecting this shift? How can company culture include effective communication methods and retain the more elusive benefits of a good conversation?
Avoiding Communication Overload
In collaboration today we notice the following challenges: team communication, file sharing, multiple sources of information and progress tracking. Incidentally, the multiplication of apps and platforms has further complicated dialogue by disseminating information in different places, email, project management applications, instant messaging chats, document transfer platforms and so on.
Companies have adopted a myriad of innovative tools, but more than often this comes at the cost of efficient internal communication. Drowned in a sea of messaging software that segment actions, teams are losing the flow of productive dialogue. Let’s have a look at how much like a well-oiled machine, good internal communication practices can not only connect colleagues, but also further engage and inspire.
Can New Tools help us get the right message across ?
Yes and No. When companies decide to start using a new collaborative tool, they often underestimate just how much it can revamp the way employees work together. When not incorporated with care, however, the multiplication of seemingly practical and time-saving features can turn into a real time-warping nightmare. We have narrowed down the essential best practices to streamline team interactions through cooperation focused software.
1 – Get People Talking
We have never been more in touch, the incessant flow of emails filling inboxes every day is a testimony of our fantastic ability to ideate and exchange. But are we at our most efficient self? Or are we burying ourselves in work-related chit-chat?
Many companies have replaced emailing by instant messaging, some have even banned internal emails. Without necessarily going that far, the adoption of instant messaging breaks down the formal barrier of an email. Categorise topics in channels or threads by topic and encourage communicants to stay on topic to simplify access to information.
2 – Optimize Information Accessibility
Effective communication is also about having the right information at the right time. The perks of being able to categorize information entails optimizing search features. One would expect a library to have well-organized shelves, similarly, a team’s workflow shouldn’t suffer from bad or non-existent classification. Many collaborative tools’ search function surpasses that of a regular email box and sweep through the whole message history in one click. Also no more looking for a document’s latest version, a client’s contract, or an e-book, working together on one single file means tracking of all changes and updates is in one place. Meetings are spent reflecting and exchanging ideas rather than catching up on amendments. Now that sounds a bit more productive!
3 – Getting the Latest Update
It is possible to streamline information through integration : all working tools merge into one, meaning fewer browser tabs and optimal concentration. Complex workflows have so much to gain from the combination of different tasks like managing projects, responding to team members and dealing with customer queries. For multitasking, which is how most employees function today, getting all updates on one screen just makes sense and cuts through the digital noise.
4 – Freedom for Greater Value
Professionals, especially Millennials, don’t see the workday the same way their elders do. Flexible hours and offices are increasingly common, being able to follow this trend with an appropriate means of communication creates win-win situations for all.
Collaborative tools have made a point of developing mobile user-friendly versions. Making information equally accessible on a smartphone, portable computer or table means the train running late, attending a conference, or simply working from home, are no longer an issue. Taking down communication barriers reduce employees stress levels and help achieve a better work and personal life balance.
5 – Reinstating Concentration
Innovation doesn’t just mean getting information across at any time and in any place, technology can also help us respect the way each and everyone works. Because sometimes the constructive thing to do is to have quiet reflective time and focus on the task at hand, notifications and reminders can be customized. Timing and context are a big part of positive communication ; technology has a huge potential in reducing those daily disruptions that short-circuit our productivity.
6 – Building a Sense of Community
Centralizing internal communication around instant messaging takes relational barriers down. The informal nature of online chats stimulates input and spontaneity, taking away the pressure of lengthy and wordy emails. What better way to bring a team together than to make everyone feel more at ease?
After putting content first, communication tools also care about user experience, they encourage conversation, brainstorming, file sharing and more. Moreover, being able to simultaneously chat within a group discussion but also on an individual level enriches collaboration. Sharing insights and thoughts becomes less daunting for all big, a big help for introverts and shy personalities.
Finally, channels or threads to company life, filled with positive and uplifting messages, takes a breather from ROI focused dialogues and create a space for inter-department connections. Not to mention it is also a great way to encourage feedback!
Cooperation for All
Collaborative tools are made to speak to the whole working community. Technology drives inclusion thanks to an intuitive design. This entails a smooth onboarding process for new recruits, so they can quickly find their marks and gain confidence. Whilst introductory training will help teams acquire better communication methods, it is through daily usage that long-term change will set in.
The workplace is experiencing a metamorphosis: leisure-oriented services for all, couches as working stations, kitchens and lounges filled with fruits and snacks. Our ways of communicating must also change to match our shifting environments. Efficient tools are the digital embodiment of the “open-door” policy and cement strong relationships in the workplace. It is no longer about just getting things done faster through simplifying messaging, but rather cultivating a company culture that is sure to make a difference in the future.