While client communication is critical to every business’s mission, interoffice communication is just as vital to your success. Without the proper communication in-house, employees and managers may be apt to misunderstand one another, teams can set off down the wrong path and interdepartmental collaboration can stall. Revamp your office communication strategies to give employees the tools to communicate effectively and the guidance to do so meaningfully.
Set an Office Standard
As a first step to changing your interoffice communication, create an office standard that lays out when, how and why employees should communicate. While this information seems like common sense, it may not be for every employee. For example, younger employees gravitate toward email and may be reluctant to use the telephone, to the detriment of client or coworker relationships. While email works for many communication methods, it may not be the right mode for every work communication. Sometimes picking up the phone or walking across the office is more effective in getting needed answers.
Draw up clear guidelines that explain when and how modes of communication, such as email, are to be used. Develop a subject and format guide for emails to help keep everyone on the same page. You might decide that only HR and upper management can email the entire company, particularly if your old culture was one that allowed employees to email distracting forwards, fundraising mail and other non-essential information.
Make sure your Infrastructure can handle your needs
If the new communication guidelines will change office patterns, your existing infrastructure might need a boost. After you create guidelines, review your existing email server and ensure that your business email provider can accommodate all of your needs. If your business email provider can’t provide what you need or has poor reviews from other businesses, this may be an ideal time to switch to an email provider that has ample storage space.
Use Team Emails to Share Information Broadly
If your business uses teams, it can be incredibly helpful to create dedicated team email groups to share information with all interested parties. This will encourage sharing throughout the office, and prevent the sort of unintentional miscommunication that can have some team members feeling that they’re lower on the totem pole. All team members will feel that they’re in the loop, work can proceed at a faster pace and senders won’t need to remember to choose the “reply all” button when responding to emails.
Use Messaging Systems to Share Information Quickly
In today’s workplace, stuffed email inboxes may mean that not all employees receive a critical message in time. Consider using other messaging systems to share information quickly, keeping everyone in the loop. A chat or messaging system works quite well to share immediate information. Employees can use a chat program to quickly get answers to questions about project scope, design or timeline, streamlining their workflow. If employees travel for business, Skype and other videoconferencing systems will work well for meetings.
While this may seem like much work, you’ll see immediate benefits once the guidelines are implemented. When all employees are on the same page, everyone can get more accomplished and teams can function at a higher level.