Can you imagine how difficult communication in the office was 30 years ago? During that time, email was virtually unheard of. Telephones were the most widely used communication tool back then, with the keypad model having replaced the traditional rotary dial telephone. Only a handful of companies had computers, and almost everyone had to draft letters and memos using a typewriter. Simply put, things were not as easy as they are today.
In the 21st century, communication is fast, cheap and efficient. You can have virtual meetings with anyone who’s in another continent. You can work with other people whom you’ve never even seen in person. And you can send a memo or letter which can be read a few minutes, or even seconds, later.
But with the numerous communication channels available today, you may wonder—what’s the best for my firm? Let’s take a look at the different communication tools employed in the workplace and determine whether it fits the need of your business.
1. Email. Although numerous communication channels have emerged, there is little doubt that the email remains the most widely used in the corporate world today. As such, almost everyone you would be transacting with can be reached through email. As a corporate notification system, it is fast, cheap and easily accessible. Moreover, archiving and retrieval of messages is quick and efficient.
But it has inherent disadvantages. We all know that virus can easily be spread via email attachments. Spam email is also another con. And email will never be the right communication tool for relaying bad news such as layoffs.
Email is still the best communication tool out there, something you should have in your business.
2. Video Conferencing. Slowly but surely, video conferencing is becoming more ubiquitous in the corporate world. This is particularly true for companies that have remote employees, as well as those with international operations. It is a far better solution that teleconferences because participants can see each other. And we all know how body language is important in communication.
With video conferencing, you don’t need to travel just to be able to seal a business partnership, or even train your remote employees. Even live product demonstrations can be done through video conferencing.
If you have remote employees, or your business has an international operations, video conferencing facilities are a must. You will get to save a lot on travel expenses with this communication tool.
3. Desktop alerts. An effective corporate notification system is the desktop alert. In a desktop alert system, urgent messages are sent straight to the desktop PCs of workers. Thus employees won’t be missing any important announcement or reminders from the management.
It addresses the limitations of the email as a corporate notification system. While email is widely used, it is not always effective in delivering urgent messages. Employees have a tendency to skip email messages, especially if they see it coming from the management. Moreover, with the number of email messages a typical worker gets on a daily basis, it is easy for more important messages to get unnoticed.
4. Instant messaging. Another corporate notification system that you may want to have in your business is instant messaging. Also called chats, this is a faster way of communication than email. Like desktop alerts, messages appear right away on a recipient’s desktop. Thus the recipient can answer the query right away.
Instant messaging works best for companies with a significant number of employees, as urgent messages can be sent immediately. If you have small number of employees, though, you may want to skip this system altogether and encourage your staff to go the traditional way—in-person meetings.