Work is now a thing people do rather than a place they go. As a result effective business communication is no longer dependent on an individual’s location. To meet this changing work environment, organisations have to empower employees with new productivity tools to meet their expectations of the modern workplace.
According to a recent article from PCTech, this process begins with email. Everyone understands email’s efficiency, but because of its speed and ease it is often misused. Relying on email entirely is a threat to efficient communication because, as the article rightfully says,“93% of communication is non-verbal.”
Body language, nuance, tone, humour, anger, and other basic human signifiers are all lost when we communicate via text. The negative outcomes of miscommunication can stretch further than just employee inefficiency and frustration. They can have a profound and long-lasting effect on business profitability. For example, one misconstrued message could cost a business millions in lost revenue when a dissatisfied customer decides to take their custom elsewhere due to poor communication.
Visual communications offers a potential solution. Whether people are remote or home based, in a different team or in another country, video removes many of the communication barriers associated with email. Employee discussions become clearer and more engaging, time is cut from the decision making process, and greater trust and rapport is built between you and your colleagues.
Choosing to deploy video is a choice organisations of every size must make, but we don’t think eradicating email completely is the right choice. Businesses should instead define a strategy to add value to email through a high-impact unified communications strategy.
For example, adding real-time presence and messaging capabilities to email provides staff valuable insight they can act on instantly – knowing the status of colleagues will let them make an informed decision about the right method and time of communication. There is no emailing back and forth waiting for a response; everything is instantaneous.
General teamwork is also enhanced for remote workers. Traditionally, teamwork can be defined as each person doing their own task and sharing their completed work via email once completed. With video meetings the opposite occurs; everything can be shared and discussed together as though you are in the same room.
Essentially visual communications brings back real teamwork, but only if employees are empowered to consume the technology provided and use it in a way that will improve their own work lives. To achieve this, a three-step targeted process should be considered:
1. Put the end-user at the heart of the strategy -businesses need to understand what productivity tools staff need to support their working lives and how they want to consume them
2. Engage, empower and motivate individuals to adopt new ways of working and to ultimately change their behaviour
3. Implement process and control measures to drive end-user behaviour over time and make adoption sustainable
One-offs do not work – end-user adoption is not instant and it is only achieved over time if a business stays dedicated to the cause and potential business benefits. That methodology applies to email, visual communications or any other business tool an organisation provides its staff.
With an intensive, committed approach a business can rethink and redesign its communications strategy to free staff from the negative associations of text-based communication.