Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work correspondence clogging your email inbox? Fret not! Nowadays, we have a number of solutions to help you get up-to-date with the state of affairs on your team. In the following lines, we will try to prove that a centralized communication system can actually work. And, yes, you will not have to worry about clicking ‘Reply All’ ever again (well, on your job, at least).
Most of us deal with a heavy workload and countless files and documents on a daily basis. For decades, email was the preferred way of delivering information to the designated recipients, whether colleagues or clients. But things happened along the way, and in today’s digital world, there is little place for chain mail and hearsay. We’re not saying that email is dying (though there are some who would definitely argue that), but the way we use it is definitely changing.
Remember the last time you received a funny video or a lifespan prediction via email? These things have found their place in the modern-day Facebook feed. Or do you remember the last time you wrote a letter to a retail company asking for product details? Now there are contact forms and direct chats for that! The same applies to office communication, especially when company culture requires frequent active collaboration, as well as active information flow.
A recent McKinsey study shows that “improved communication and collaboration through social technologies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.” Do you like how that sounds? Well, we do. We even have a tool for that.
But first, let’s see how this kind of communication technology applies to the everyday professional environment and what are the benefits of an internal communications system.
1. Simplified discussions
If your team is conducting its internal communication via email, there is a strong chance that some questions will never get answered and that some important piece of information will be lost in the sheer mass of messages. And more often than not, somebody will forget to include all participants in the conversation, and chaos will ensue.
On the other hand, communicating via an app of choice is not a bad idea. The only problem is that everybody has their own favorite app. This is why a project manager should consider moving all conversations under one roof. For instance, you can use an internal company blog to publish major topics (new projects, project updates, or any other relevant issues) as announcements, and then employ the comments section to conduct all communication related to the topic in question. All you need to do is keep up with frequent notifications while enjoying the information flow.
2. Everybody being up-to-date on a variety of projects
Imagine this situation: A junior designer uploads a project draft on an external hosting server (or - you guessed it! - packs it into an email) and sends a link to the senior designer. The recipient then downloads it, makes some changes, uploads the final draft to the same server, and then accidentally sends the first link to the project manager. This could go even further with wrong files sent to wrong addresses, and we’re sure you all have your own tales of tragedy. A centralized knowledge base can help solve this problem. Instead of sharing countless files countless times to countless addresses, they are all stored in a single documented depository accessible to all involved team members. A little bit of careful file organization will allow everyone to find all necessary files with ease.
3. Improved time management
Let’s look into some numbers. In addition to the McKinsey study, a Harvard Business Review research reveals some interesting facts about team productivity vs. team collaboration. The study emphasizes that collaborative activities in a business environment have increased by 50% or more in the last two decades. In some present-day companies, internal communication - whether through meetings, phone calls, or email - takes up a whopping 80% of employees’ time, leaving little room for actual productive work. In other words, an increasing need for collaboration means more communication at the expense of productivity. This is exactly why we need social technology to enhance the traditional way of collaborating and keeping all the necessary announcements transparent.
4. Transparent communication with remote teams
When working with team members spread across different locations, there is no regular face-to-face communication, which makes it very hard to really get to know the employees and sense how willing they are to invest themselves in work. Yet, breaking the physical barrier is what makes working with remote teams both exciting and challenging. Having a centralized hub for knowledge sharing is a step in the right direction, while a designated online meeting spot like an internal blog will help team members feel like an actual part of a collective: included, involved, and engaged.
While it is still an essential part of business communication, email is becoming increasingly burdened by the sheer amount of information it delivers on daily basis. Therefore, finding new ways to relieve and streamline the information flow can help ensure reliable distribution of information, simplify and organize communication, thus increasing productivity and organizational solidity.