As humans, we cannot but communicate. The old maxim of “all behaviour is communication” reminds us that as social creatures, our very existence as humans is built on the bedrock of communication. Business is no different. Effective business relies on effective communication. Whilst some doom-mongers bemoan the impact technology has had on face-to-face communication, technology can, in fact, enhance and support face-to-face communication.
Technology offer communication tools that, like any tool, when used effectively and wisely, produce results and I’ve been focussed on using technology to make my company HappyCleans function more efficiently. In this blog, we explore some of the many benefits communication technologies offers business in 2021.
The Rise of Remote Working
It’s tempting to see remote working as a reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Yes, lockdown restrictions meant many employees began to work from home or work remotely for the first time. During 2019 it was already on the rise, making it clear that remote working was already an emerging trend in business. Remote working offers a host of benefits, from increasing productivity through reduced distractions from colleagues and reducing the stress of the commute.
Communication technologies are central to facilitating remote working, making WFH work for business. Video conferencing, remote collaboration tools and instant messaging services mean that effective communication can happen at the click of a button wherever you are located. The ability to share schedules and check availability is the technological equivalent of walking down the corridor to check if the boss’s door is open or not. Streamlined, clear, effective. Technology is the communication hero that’s facilitating the remote working revolution.
Systems that Support Communication
Any successful business owner or entrepreneur knows that communication is central to managing and motivating employees. In days gone by, morning briefings were the method used to disseminate vital information to employees who, perhaps, aimed to stifle a yawn as they cradled a Styrofoam cup of coffee. Yes, that works to a certain extent in a small to medium-based business located in single geographical location. But, as businesses grow and as employees become more and more disparately located, there needs to be another option.
Nowadays, online bulletin boards and hashtags allow for information to be communicated efficiently on a need-to-know basis, and encourage autonomy and personal responsibility for accessing communication. It’s no longer necessary to sit through the part of the meeting that doesn’t apply to your team or your division. Instead, streamlined and tailored channels reduce the wastefulness of over communication. Slack is a fantastic tool for this, with many successful and forward-thinking businesses adopting Slack hashtags to build up a comprehensive and searchable databank of knowledge around #recruitment #policies #bonuses #feedback #humanresources #wellbeing #leadership. You get the idea!
And, the Holy Grail of building autonomy and initiative in employees? Technological communication options such as Slack support employee proactivity. Workers can search for responses to FAQs and benefit from the hive-mind of the workforce, saving managers the task of repeating answers again and again. In an age when Digital Nomads establish self-starter businesses around the globe, there’s no longer a need to be huddled around the same desk, in the same time-zone.
Communication and knowledge are no longer geographically or temporally limited, and employees can take responsibility for accessing information and updates at a time and place that works for them.
Automation Technology: A Responsive Communication Tool
Technological advances in automation are transforming the business world and economy. Automation in business communication offers streamlined and efficient communication as well as the ability to gather helpful data. For example, in any business where service and customer satisfaction matters, its vital to gather feedback data from clients.
Yes, managers could remind shop-floor employees to ask clients for feedback at point of sale, but that is labor intensive and open to human error. The automated alternative is to email simple, streamlined and efficient feedback measures to customers to allow them to highlight and report any issues.
Technology allows for collation of that data and for tailored responses as needed. That data can, in turn, be used to measure performance and the value-add employees. Automated communication data also makes any recognition and reward strategy simple and effective, fostering morale and motivation.
Technology Supports Connection and Communication for Wellbeing
We know that content employees are productive employees. Options that support communication among employees have the ability to facilitate staff morale and connection. Whether that’s a brainstorming session conducted remotely to throwing around some ideas with colleagues, or even having chance to celebrate and share personal news with other workmates, communications technology can reduce that damaging sense of isolation that can become corrosive with remote working. US research reveals that non-lonely workers think far less about handing in their notice than lonely workers.
Finding ways for employees to connect in ways that support wellbeing is more complicated when teams are remote. An afterwork fitness tournament at the local gym is less simple to organise when teams are on different continents. Yet, we do know that the endorphin from shared activity and social laughter helps us manage workplace stress and bonds groups together. Communications Tech offers a real-life solution.
For example, a virtual Tour de France can take place in different locations, with competitors logging distance and times, and tech offering analysis of winning teams. Photos can be shared, comments encouraged.
Suddenly every team member can be involved, providing a real boost to employees’ well being. The possibilities of Communications Tech to support employee well being is vast. And – there’s even the chance to discreetly share sensitive well being information, EAP support and helpful resources to help employees manage their own health and well being.
So, speed, reliability, efficiency, flexibility and employee wellbeing are among the many benefits that Communications Technologies offers the business world. And you don’t need to be a CEO of a Global Multi-National to implement Communications Technology. Efficiency benefits means Tech is a smart investment for the small start-up as much as the giant conglomerate. Technology has the power to support any business with effective communication, and it’s certainly here to stay.