We all know communication is essential. But why is it sometimes so hard in the workplace? Messages get lost in translation from department to department, or sometimes creative ideas are dulled in meetings. Poor communication can destroy team spirit and really mess with productivity. Here are three secrets to better communication in the workplace.
More opportunities to talk
Sometimes it’s the unofficial meetings that are more productive. We all know the power of the water-cooler chats. It can be the place where the most interesting conversations happen, and you never know what creative sparks could fly. Try to set up your office to allow for maximum spontaneous communication opportunities. That’s why open-plan is now so popular. Some offices also have staff hot-desk, so they work next to different colleagues each week. This can strengthen the office dynamic. Other workplaces find that seating teams in small pods breed the best communication and efficiency.
It’s not just communication between team members that’s important. What about ensuring strong communication between managers and their teams? Many modern managers have adopted an open-door policy to ensure that staff always feel comfortable to approach them. This can improve the dynamics in the office and boost trust. If you do implement this policy, make sure it’s an open-door policy in actions, not just words. You can even keep your door propped open to signify you’re always willing to chat.
This might seem to contradict the previous point. But actually, how many of your meetings are truly beneficial? We’ve all gotten into a habit of having so many meetings. It’s common for people to joke about having a meeting about a meeting. But this is no laughing matter. It’s your employees valuable time which is being wasted, time which could be spent growing your business. Having fewer but better quality meetings could end up producing more meaningful communication. It could also improve workplace satisfaction and create a more positive culture.
Next time you’re planning a meeting, ask yourself what the main goal of the meeting. If you can’t come up with one, consider if you really need to have this meeting. Perhaps a quick catch up would do just fine. So resist the urge to schedule in a one-hour meeting, and have a stand-up meeting instead. These are typically much shorter and to the point. Some managers find they can also be more free-flowing and creative since people are more alert.
Use tools effectively
Digital tools exist to help us communicate, but sometimes they end up hindering proper dialogue. Some workplaces go overboard and end up spreading conversations across multiple platforms. This wastes employee time trying to track down agreed actions from last week’s meetings. Have all of your communication on one centralized platform, then encourage staff to use it. It really helps to have a digital paper trail to refer back to previously agreed actions or targets.
Don’t forget that tools exist to support verbal communication too. Having a cloud-based telephone system can streamline communication and boost efficiency. To find out more about the benefits of unified communications in the office, visit this website.