Digital era and digital workspace technology and techniques.
Effective communication is more important than ever in any workplace. Whether you're a business owner, a marketer, or a leader in your field, the best thing you can do to sustain your business is to choose the right communication channels.
COVID-19 has forced many to work from home and adjust to new routines. As a result, engagement and productivity have become a major challenge. According to Gartner.com, 74% of companies plan to shift to remote work indefinitely post COVID-19. This means increasing importance of modern communication techniques, new hardware and software involved. Creating and maintaining solid information flow in your business will keep your employees informed, engaged, and committed.
How to Open Remote Work Communication Channels
Before we explore effective communication channels for your business, let's highlight 3 values you should practice to guide your employees through this pandemic. Be empathetic, flexible, and transparent. Empathy during these times is important. Employees are under a high amount of stress right now, which can make it more difficult to focus on work tasks. It is crucial to empathize with their new reality. Flexibility is necessary as well. Some of your employees might have young children who need their attention. Allow extra time for your employees to complete their assignments. Finally, be transparent. This is not a time to sugarcoat anything. This is a time to practice effective communication to meet the needs of your employees so they can get the work done. It’s necessary to use communication channels that are efficient and easy to use. If they are not, this could create disorganization and waste time.
The Purpose of Communication Channels
Communication channels refer to the methods that people within an organization use to communicate with each other.
Communication channels help resolve any internal issues. The most important communication channel to explore in this article is digital. Digital communication channels include email, internal communication channels, software, and intranets.
As a business, your top priority is to make the workplace and workflow efficient for your employees. When you achieve this, your employees will be more productive and will put more effort into their work. To choose the best communication channels for your organization, you need to identify your purpose, goals, and objectives for communication. How do you do this? Answer these 4 questions:
Who Is Your Audience?
Your audience is anyone within your organization. This could be your employees, but it could also be an expert, a peer, or whoever you report to, such as a supervisor.
What Message Do You Want to Send?
Is it a formal or informal message? Is it urgent? Is the message for everyone within the company, a small team of people, or your supervisor? Is the message contain sensitive information? Does the message need a response or is it one-way communication?
Why Are You Communicating This Message?
Whenever you want to communicate something to your company, it is important to identify your goals. Do you want to inform, educate or entertain your target audience?
- In-person: one-on-one meeting, company meeting, team meeting
- Written: mass emails, company newsletter or blog, digital alerts
- Video: conference call, video chat, phone call
Due to the state of the world right now, in-person communication is not a workable option, but written and video communication is still useful and relevant to remote employees.
While employees still find mass emails and frequent updates through company newsletters useful, many are relying on conference calls and video chatting. Employees can record videos to refer to later, and they can meet virtually in real-time to send and receive feedback.
These questions will inform which communication channels you use. Now that you know how to establish your reasons and goals for delivering messages, here are 10 communication channels you can use at work.
10 Communication Channels for Your Business
Now that many employees are working from home, the efficiency and accessibility of these communication channels will improve internal issues and increase productivity.
1. Social Intranet Software
An Intranet can be a valuable communication channel for organizations. It is an exclusive space for employees to get corporate information including policies, company updates, and important announcements.
Top intranet software: Microsoft Sharepoint, Axero, Simpplr
2. Collaboration tools
Group messaging and chat tools are forms of instant communication that end the need to send emails. They are great tools for those times when an employee needs an answer immediately.
Employees can share files or images in their group chats. They are also beneficial for employees in different locations and time zones.
Top collaboration tools: Slack, Microsoft Skype for Business, Google Hangout, Google Meet
3. Project management
A combination of project planning and task tracking capabilities creates an efficient business performance profile. These tools are a smart way for businesses to track the status of ongoing projects and rank tasks.
This eliminates any confusion about task assignments, responsibilities, and deadlines.
Top task management tools: Trello, Teamwork, Wrike, BWA Cloud
4. Planning tools
Planning tools maintain organization, save time and establish internal communication. Their built-in features track deadlines and stay on top of internal workflow. You can share calendars, folders, and important documents to ensure all employees are on the same page.
Top project management tools: Excel, Google Drive, Trello
5. Survey tools
It is important for employees to know that their managers are open to hearing feedback on how to improve the workplace environment and workflow. Surveys help collect data on current attitudes and perspectives about many aspects of your company.
In the end, it provides insights that can inform internal changes. It will serve as data that you can look back on to see if the changes you made were effective.
Top project management tools: DeskAlerts, Survey Monkey
6. Discussion Forums
Discussion forums in the workplace serve as open communication channels for employees to share organizational knowledge, updates, and concerns. It is also a way to build a sense of trust and community among employees.
Top forum platforms: Zendesk and vBulletin
7. Internal Blogs
Company blogs are normally found on your business’s intranet site. Their main function is to encourage discussion and stay up-to-date with the latest news of the company.
Internal blogs are usually written by the CEO, senior executives, or experts within the organization. The aim is to share important company information, problems, and solutions.
8. Internal Newsletters
Company newsletters remain one of the most effective forms of internal communication. This communication channel aims to deliver relevant news and messages to employees and management.
As long as the newsletters are visually effective and contain information that employees want to read, they can contribute to a positive team culture.
Internal blog tools: Mailchimp, Hubspot, Benchmark
9. Video Conferencing tools
Video conferencing is a part of every company. Video conferencing software allows us to connect remotely to hold meetings with colleagues.
It is especially useful for companies in different geographic locations around the world. It enables employees to communicate face-to-face, without being in the same room together.
This communication channel has allowed colleagues to continue communicating and executing their daily work tasks despite social distance restrictions, which have made meeting in-person impossible.
Video conferencing tools: Zoom.us, Google Hangout, Webex
10. Alerts and Notification tools
Alerts and notification tools are an instant way to deliver urgent messages and notifications to employees. These messages are often delivered through their computers, smartphones, and other channels.
The messages will appear as pop-up messages and push notifications. It is the perfect support tool for emails. If employee inboxes are flooded with emails, the next best thing is to send alerts and notifications
Alerts and notification tools: DeskAlerts
Audit Your Company's Communication Channels
Start this process by auditing which channels you do and do not have. Next, identify what areas within your company need improvement.
If you don't want to solely rely on emails to send urgent messages, install alerts and notification tools. If you want to improve the workplace environment, use survey software to get feedback from employees.
Get Started Today with Workplace Communication Channels
Effective communication requires appropriate communication channels.
In the wake of COVID-19 and the likelihood that most companies will permanently move to remote work, knowing which communication channels to use to your company’s advantage is crucial.
Trends are showing that digital and written communication will be the foundation of workplace communication moving forward.
When you are equipped with these 10 communication channels, you can improve your company’s efficiency and productivity.