Our channels of communication have continued to become more advanced in recent years, with email in particular earning its place as an important pillar in the modern business world. But is this complexity always a good thing?
Only 27 per cent of employees feel informed about their communication role in the workplace.
Well, according to the research, the answer to this question is a resounding 'no'. Despite the capabilities of the latest and greatest technology, almost 4 in 10 (39 per cent) employees believe that their company has an inadequate level of collaboration, while only 27 per cent feel informed about their communication role in the workplace, according to figures collated by Queens University of Charlotte in the US.
Naturally, poor internal communication can not only have significant financial repercussions, but might also affect the company's culture as a whole, too. For example, a study from Accountemps found that 33 per cent of human resources managers believe a lack of communication to be the key factor behind morale issues, which can go on to cause problems for the wider business.
So, even with the might of modern technology behind them, many companies are still struggling to communicate effectively. Simplifying how we talk to each other may be the superior option, but how can you improve things in your business?
1. Move to the cloud
As touched on, technology is a useful tool, though if often adds layers of hardware and software to a company's infrastructure that may actually be prohibitively complicated in the long term.
Thankfully, not all tech suffers from the same issue. CIO surmised that migrating your company's critical services to the cloud could help you drastically reduce IT complexity and make your internal processes more transparent, intuitive and efficient.
There are many ways of achieving this. High quality cloud-based phone systems, for instance, enable you to actually remove much of the hardware involved with conventional communications solutions and streamline your entire network.
2. Explore email alternatives
While email is undoubtedly an integral part of any company's communications, it's no longer the be-all and end-all. Due to greater proliferation of high speed internet and more compatible devices, there are many alternative - and arguably more efficient - ways of keeping in touch both internally and externally. This is particularly important considering the fact that the average employee dedicates 28 per cent of their workweek toward managing their emails, according to research from McKinsey & Company.
That time equates to massive amounts of lost productivity and revenue. However, technology does offer a solution. Today's VoIP business phone systems come with a range of collaborative tools that extend far beyond the limitations of email. Video conference calls, for example, enable users to communicate using both audio and video to convey more intricate ideas. The instantaneous nature of chat messaging services, on the other hand, allow workers to quickly convey short snippets of information without the formality of email.
3. Encourage non-work-related collaboration
While technology has an integral role in simplifying business communication, good old fashioned team bonding exercises may be just as helpful in facilitating collaboration.
Forbes contributor Jeremy Caplan recommended that companies should encourage employees to engage in sports, recreational activities and social pursuits outside of regular work hours. Doing so may help instill more of a team spirit across the company, which in turn can break down many of the communications barriers that employees may have established with their peers.
Remember, it's not about abandoning professionalism. Rather, it's all about supporting workers to be confident in how they communicate both in the workplace and beyond.