Jun 13, 2022
We are 100% remote, and like a lot of companies, we adopted a hybrid solution, but mostly working from home. In this situation, we have been more aware than ever of the importance of communication.
Effective communication inside and outside the organization is essential to making it last! (But not the only thing, of course!)
With more tools and channels than ever to communicate, figuring out which communication channels will work best can feel overwhelming. Is it ever OK to WhatsApp your manager? Should you email your coworker with a quick question? Is it right to send a Slack message for relevant information? And does anyone still use the phone for calling? 🤔
Don’t stress! We are all in the same boat trying to figure it all out. We did an investigation into the best uses of each channel, and we want to share it with you. Let’s begin!
Chat, email, in-person, video… The list is long, but we will differentiate between these three categories to make it easier:
✉️Formal Communication: this is information that needs to be shared to give the employees a clear idea of the company’s vision and goals. i.e. a PowerPoint or Slide presentation shared during a team meeting.
☕️Informal Communication: troubleshooting or addressing quick, on-the-spot work-related issues. Ex. group chat messaging or other tools to answer employee’s or customer’s questions in real-time
🍻Unofficial Communication: to discuss random topics outside working hours. Ex. text messages, social media, group chat.
With so many platforms available and so many different types of communication, we need to select the right channel for each type of communication.
You probably shouldn’t send an official contract to sign through Slack or tell your colleague about your last event through email.
This list is not set in stone, of course. Feel free to adapt or use each tip, and adapt them to your needs!
We will only share some useful guidelines and suggestions; there will be no hard rules! But they work for us, so we hope they work for you as well 😉.
We all still have an email account (or multiple accounts), even though we may not use them as much as we used to!
One advantage of email is that you don’t have to wait for weeks to receive it, but its rapid response is not its main characteristic. Mails tend not to be answered instantly. So, when can we use it?
For employee surveys Emails are great, but be careful not to over-rely on communicating through emails - inboxes tend to be overflowing with junk, so it might not be the best way to get a hold of someone!
A McKinsey Global Institute report found that the average worker spends about 28% of the average workweek reading and answering emails. Always have a backup alternative ready (like the other options on this list).
Video conferencing has seen a 535% rise in daily traffic in 2020. The pandemic turned them from “optional” to a “must” overnight.
Video conferencing is a great channel when you want to see people’s expressions, improve communication, connect teams, and even boost your morale. But, being a must doesn’t mean it’s for everything. When is a good time to use this more interactive channel?
The challenge here is to define well the end goal of the meeting and the duration of it so it does not exceed the time. A whole week of virtual meetings leaves 38% of employees feeling exhausted, while 30% feel stressed (Forbes). Make sure to leave time to work and focus!
A phone call is a great way to communicate urgent issues and get answers quickly. We are talking about phone calls, but here we could also include WhatsApp calls or other instant messaging calls.
If you don’t need visuals to communicate your message, a voice call is a little more convenient—you don’t need to brush your hair. Plus, if the person you called isn’t available, you can leave a voice message without being restricted to a certain number of text characters.
Also, phone calls can incur massive initial costs, especially if you’re using traditional phone lines or systems, like a public branch exchange (PBX) to transfer calls to other members of your team.
We all use IM! They are great for simple and direct communication between teams, and we are introducing new channels only for business. They will allow you to directly and easily connect with your peers. You get pinged right away if someone sends you a message, and you can type out a reply in seconds.
While all of this sounds great, IM channels aren’t always the most ideal when it comes to communicating about certain topics. IM tools should be reserved for more informal or unofficial methods of communication. Relevant information can easily get lost in IM channels with the many notifications that come in throughout the day.
For relevant communications, you should keep an official channel so everyone can easily access important company communication in the corresponding place.
According to a recent study, 74% of employees have the feeling that they are missing out on important company news and 85% of employees say they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news (Trade Press Services).
Even with so many communication channels, we still miss relevant information. Sometimes more doesn’t mean better! For that reason, companies are creating new official channels to share relevant information and keep everyone aligned and engaged.
These are some of the most common channels in these categories:
We know there is a lot but with this guide, we hope to have helped you!
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