communication channels in workplace
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The Importance of Communication Channels in the Workplace

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With email, teams, phone calls, video calls, face-to-face meetings, and other zillions of communications channels available at the disposal, what is the secret for choosing the best communication channel in the workplace?

For leading a successful business, create open communication and an environment of trust. As you may think, the answer is not a straightforward one. It depends mostly on the situation and the scenario in which the information is to be communicated.

Using Different Communication Channels

Every company in the COVID-19 struck disbanded and restricted world should make it a mission to improve their communication in the workplace. It will mitigate misunderstandings and future conflicts and help the company place itself on a sustainable success path.

Communication Is the Primary Key to Success

Creating an open, swift, honest, and clear communication environment brings an innovative openness to the company. A study suggests an empowered office environment can increase employee productivity by around 25%.

Efficient communication in the workplace is essential to achieving every business goal. From providing a purpose to accomplishing the goals, good communication helps build corporate culture, create accountability, avoid confusion, and grow revenues year on year.

Businesses always work with team members collaborating, sharing information, managers assigning tasks or evaluating work progress, and sharing skills. Every business has a preferred communication channel that might be more concerned with security or privacy. Some companies use these channels only to communicate tasks and news to everyone in the hierarchy.

Types of Communication Channels

Several mediums or channels can provide communication, and not every communication channel is equal. Every channel has its unique benefits, where some are richer and permit for a deeper conversation, while others make it easy to have a more productive and creative environment. We’ll dig deeper into different communication channels for business communication and how you can optimise your work environment.


Face-to-face Communication

Though electronic mediums are taking over everywhere, face-to-face remains extremely important with a human touch to it. The human face and body are the leading communication tools in the world with usage both consciously and unconsciously to send messages.

Face-to-face is the richest and most effective way of communication for teams and everyone looking to make an impact, innovate or explain themselves effectively. This effectively transmits the verbal information. It also reduces any misconstrued messages by allowing active body language, facial expressions, and other nonverbal communication to happen productively. It helps in building trust and transparency between the individuals in the conversation.

For lengthy and detailed conversations, it is the best channel. Also, face-to-face is an excellent way to keep everyone in the loop and well connected for complex, sensitive messages or brainstorming sessions.

Face-to-face communication channels can be formal and informal, depending on the situation and how it occurs. Organisations use this channel for simple conversations around the desk or scheduling a formal meeting ahead of time to make everyone prepare. Formal meetings usually have a structure and purpose that needs to be fulfilled.


Video Conferencing

Everyone can’t always be present in person when you need to connect with them. In that case, video call is an efficient way to get our message across. From one-on-one to conference calls of large groups, the channel makes it easier to ask questions and offer feedback without any significant delay.

Even being far away from each other, video conferencing allows you to make effective communication by retaining your ability to read facial expressions. The increased flexibility and massive advantage of accommodating a large group of people on a video call make it an efficient and desired channel for communication.

Businesses usually must pay for video conferencing tools to use on a larger scale. The tools can be helpful for real-time collaboration. Modern tools allow screen sharing and save up on travel time, allowing team members to just hop on and join forces. However, prior scheduling is normally expected for a video call.

Anyone anywhere in the world can join a video conference call, making it one of the quickest and easiest ways to transmit information, converse, and get feedback. Video conferencing saw a rapid rise with telecommuting and schools shifting to online during the global COVID-19 pandemic. It offers more of a personal touch, even when you are miles apart or even in completely different time zones.

Video conference calls are the nearest option to a face-to-face conversation and distributing information swiftly and effectively. It can work well for one-on-one conversations or for small teams to collaborate easily. But it can be a real challenge for company-wide initiatives or projects as it can also waste time. Video calls are not the perfect solution for quickly sharing updates, getting feedback, or evaluating employee engagement.


Phone Calls

Video conferencing is the most effective and impactful channel to communicate, while in-person meeting is out of the question. But it isn’t the most convenient way. Even for an informal video call via your smartphone, eliminating the need for prior scheduling or relying on the other person to have a high-speed internet connection.

However, phone calls are an excellent way to communicate and deliver a sense of urgency to get the answers quickly. Calls are two-way and real-time communication channel that allows both ends to hear their voice. An individual’s voice tone can affect their ability to convey important and firm information.   Also, it is a tried and tested way of communication, where if no visuals are needed, the channel can serve for short as well as lengthy discussions.

A phone call offers a personal flair and is always immediate in communicating the message. According to the classic article “Inference of Attitudes from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels,” from the overall conversation, 55% account for body language, 38% for voice tone, and only 7% for spoken words.

This shows the importance of both body language and voice tone, adding emotion and dimension to words that increase communication effectiveness. Voice phone calls are often interactive in nature and allow room for questions to be asked and answered right away.

Disciplinary issues, sensitive information or personal matters should always be handled over a phone call to give an in-person effect. Taking time out of a busy schedule to make a phone call carries more weight than an impersonal email or text message.


Emails

People perceive email as being less authentic and a lower-effort medium of communication. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, “Email is the best form of communication for hiding your true colours and worst in terms of how honest the sender is perceived to be.”

One of the benefits of email is that the consumer can spell out the problem. There is no text limit, and it can be reviewed several times, without haste, because the interlocutor is not online, waiting. Though you need to learn how to write a professional email that everyone wants to read and doesn’t just waste their time.

Email is not a conversation. The client has time to go into details. For the company, this means having more elements to understand the situation and respond assertively, solving the matter effectively. In addition to describing in detail, email allows you to send attachments.


Text Messages

For a company, the use of SMS in internal communication is always going to be necessary. This will depend on whether the business can emerge and move forward as it should, employees can be happy when carrying out their work and that everything works as it should.

The main idea of ​​carrying out mass SMS campaigns is that the same message is used for a large number of people, which will reach them through their mobile devices.

The words you use in these texts will be essential to raise spirits and, thus, that workers can feel much better. Many times, you may have hundreds of people in your charge. Therefore, nothing better than having a method that guarantees good communication.

Everyone nowadays has a cell phone, and it does not matter if it is a Smartphone or not. And it is there where the magic of mass text messages can be seen reflected in a company’s internal communication: any cell phone can receive it.

There are many occasions where internal communication turns out to be complicated since, many times, no one checks the inbox of their emails. The best way for your employees to be aware of your communications is with the use of messages.

On average, people check their cell phones about 150 times a day. On the other hand, 98% of people read the SMS they receive in less than five minutes. And is that most of the population has a cell phone that receives messages, it is not necessary to install an app or have access to the internet.


When to Use Sms as an Internal Communication Channel?

Make Sure Your Contacts Agree to Receive the Information

Text messaging is a very effective communication channel to be able to communicate with your employees. However, you should be aware when you are going to send bulk SMS as there are rules for this.

The first rule is that you have the permission of the workers to receive information through this channel. The opening rate of SMS in internal communication is extremely high, but it will not help you if there are people who do not want to receive them.

Keep in Mind the Moment When You Will Send the Sms

Unlike emails, which are only checked a few times during the day, people almost immediately open text messages. This is going to be essential when you need to send urgent messages, but you should not abuse this at times that are not adequate.

Include the Name of Your Company in the Messages

When you send bulk SMS, it is often done through a short number. This means that your employees will not know that the message comes from the company where they work. That’s why the first thing is to communicate who’s sending the message.

If you are thinking of developing an internal communication plan, this will help you to achieve a series of objectives in your company. Among them are to innovate, inform and share everything that happens. The benefits of using internal communication:

  • You will optimise the internal processes of your company, helping you achieve your goals.
  • You will be able to spread the values ​​and policies of your company.
  • It will reduce conflicts, thus improving the work environment.
  • Employees will be more involved with their work since they will feel much more motivated, increasing their confidence.
  • There will be great communication between worker and manager.
  • The opinions of those who work in the company will be heard and valued.
  • It will improve the efficiency of the company.

Online Messaging Platforms

“To communicate is human.” From stone-carved pictograms to the latest chat apps, humans always find better ways to communicate. Not surprisingly, AIM and MSN Messenger were some of the strongest lures on the internet in the 1990s, while messaging apps like WhatsApp and LINE are coaxing the next billion to go online today. We like to talk.

Emails require a letter-length response and a title. Video calls can be just as frustrating to schedule as a face-to-face meeting. Chat simplifies that. Write a quick message, get an equally short reply or maybe just an emoji, and get on with your work. There is nothing complicated or slow. This is how we talk to friends and family today, and increasingly; it is also how work gets done.

Team chat apps help organise conversations on multiple topics.

There are many ways to talk to your team, from traditional email and phone calls to video conferencing and social media. Even SMS could work.

Team chat is similar, but its main advantage is that it keeps all your company communications in one spot, making it easy for everyone to communicate with groups or in private chats.

You don’t need to search for a team member’s email ID. They’re all just a tap away, even from your phone. And if a call is easier, team chat applications often include conference calls, video chat, and screen sharing tools.


1. Slack

Slack is a team chat app you’ve probably heard and tried already. Launched in mid-2013 by the team that created Flickr, it quickly became one of the most popular ways to chat in groups. In 2018, Slack even acquired its closest competitor, HipChat, along with HipChat’s new replacement, Stride. Slack is one of the most popular platforms and is more than a chat platform.

The built-in Slackbot tool can remind you of messages or set a reminder about anything you need. Then the custom Slack Bots that you can build and install are the main reason bots have become a buzzword in recent years. Such tools can start projects, reduce numbers, and approve invoices right from your team.

These are also more than bots. You can make it look however you want with deeply customisable themes. His emoji-based reactions are a super-powerful version of the ubiquitous Facebook Like button. And its conversations tool allows you to turn any chat message into a mini channel on that topic.

Slack is even better than working or juggling multiple jobs at once. The tool allows you to join multiple teams to read through group conversations, keep an eye on side projects, and work chat at the same time.


2. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is another amazing chat application allowing everyone to do meetings and share documents. It works good for random conversations but is primarily suited for when you come up with a proposal or describe a project together with a team.

Microsoft Teams organises channels under teams. Invite everyone you want to be on that team, and they can automatically join all channels on that particular team. You can chat as regular with a reply button under every message to turn it into a thread.

Do you need to write something else? Touch the A button for a rich text editor where you can write a complete email style message with a subject and importance indicator. Also, you can share a document as a permanent record as Office Online documents within the chat.

Then every time you have a meeting, Microsoft Teams creates a new chat room just for that meeting. You can jump into a video call, share your screen, and record each discussion in long messages. Email is almost reinvented.


3. Cisco Webex Teams

A picture is worth a thousand words. Cisco Webex Teams is a team chat application designed for creative teams who prefer to discuss things in pictures. It keeps chatting simple, with direct messages that allow you to create a new room with just one click.

The application allows you to share files or have a voice or video call with your team. Or turn your ideas into reality by sketching on a virtual whiteboard to show your team what you’re planning. When instead of chatting, you need a quick way to communicate; the Cisco Webex allows you to have voice or video chat with anyone.


4. Twist

Most of the chat apps have a chronological list for in-the-moment conversations. But when it’s all just another comment on your team’s General channel, it’s easy to miss out on valuable information if you don’t read every message.

Twist, a team chat app from Todoist’s team, changes that by turning all team chats into threads. It includes standard channels for group conversations, and you can also start a new thread or comment on an existing one. It allows you to focus on a conversation and helps you keep track of the communication when you were inactive.

Similarly, you can send direct messages to anyone within your team or form a group for private discussions. If you want to reply to any message or thread, tap the Todoist button in the upper right corner to add a new task to your Todoist to-do list that links to the original conversation.

Conclusion

Internal communication is an essential yet one of the greatest challenges in the era of the information society. If organisations don’t improve and appropriate employees while keeping them abreast of all the needed information, things can go south. However, many organisations focus only on the satisfaction of the company’s customers and forget about the employees’ satisfaction.

With the power of communication, every person in an organisation can be an asset that can respond competitively and satisfactorily to the demands of the clients.

Efficient communication can establish an optimal work environment, thereby strengthening productivity and efficiency.

To know if the strategies applied by the company are generating the expected results, it is necessary to monitor metrics and indicators. You can run internal surveys, measure the level of employee engagement with company actions, and track the rate and reasons for employee layoffs.

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