Valère Drainville, Instructor and lecturer.
1. Using the Wrong Tools
In the digital age, the number of means of communication is forever on the rise; teleconferencing, forums, social media, email, SMS and so on. Each method has, of course, its pros and cons. Some balance between them needs to be maintained. Overuse of one can negatively impact the time needed to perform some tasks while even hampering creativity and engagement within your team. Knowing which to use and when is important.
Let’s take email as an example.
Email is the most widely used medium in communicating with colleagues, whether to ask questions, follow up on a project or send a document. Such massive usage can overload your inbox, impede the tracking down of information you’d like to check later on, and even impact overall corporate memory. It is definitely worth shunting some types of information towards collaborative platforms such as Yammer or SharePoint.
2. Mismanaging Priorities
Digital technology puts a wealth of information at your fingertips, all of it available at any time. In this context, the ability to spot added-value information, analyse it, consign it to (corporate) memory and circulate it has become something of an art form. This is made even harder in the workplace where there are plenty of interruptions from phones, notifications, emails, SMS and so on. Too much information and too many interruptions are distractions that hinder concentration, leading in turn to extended amounts of time in completing tasks while also making you lose sight of priorities.
Again, let’s use email as an example.
Whereas time in a day is limited, the supply of incoming emails seems infinite. Here’s some advice: silence all incoming email alarms to curb the urge to read each new one as it comes in. Set regular times in which to review your emails, perhaps every hour or before moving on to the next task. Email is not the way to deal with emergencies. Urgent questions should go the way of instant messaging rather than email. This relieves everyone from needing to check their inbox every twenty minutes in case something critical comes up.
3. Lack of Training
Most of us feel confident in using the means of communication at our disposal, but how many of us actually use them efficiently? Not many. In spite of this, very few businesses take the step to train their people on using the tools made available at work. It is high time organizations took the step of giving advanced training to employees on such tools and on how to communicate well. Every single day, we meet employees who lack expertise, technical know-how and vision in this area. Feelings of discomfort and inadequacy run rampant: workers everywhere don’t know what to think and need to take stock of their abilities. To fight against this, organizations need to invest in their employees’ digital skills.
In addition, we firmly believe that managers everywhere must prioritize better communication within their teams. This is without a doubt their greatest challenge to better productivity in the years to come. To overcome this challenge, they themselves must master communication tools and best practices, discuss them often, clarify their expectations and provide clear guidelines.
Productivity is a high-stakes issue for any organization. Investing in information and communication technology as well as digital skills are definitely keys to ensure future growth.
Instructor and lecturer.