Staples of Effective Workplace Communication

Image Credits: Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Effective communication is an important skill for an individual and a big part of building a good workplace – it’s why ‘good communication skills’ is a staple of every CV.

We all know what bad communication looks like and its consequences, but what does it take to communicate effectively? What does it mean to be a good communicator? And what can you do to improve your communication skills and that of your entire team?

Tips to improve communication and foster an environment of healthy collaboration

1. It’s always better to over communicate than to under communicate

While it’s second nature to think that you might be annoying someone with too many questions and updates, it’s the safer thing to do. Don’t shy away from giving regular updates to your team.

Connecting regularly via chat and video, or real-time whenever possible, keeps teams connected, projects streamlined, and communications efficient and transparent.

2. Regular communication training opportunities can help reset the team

Training takes time, money, and effort, but it’s well worth the investment. Realigning and reiterating the company’s communication channels and methods is a good way to ensure a smooth functioning team.

Conducting communications training at regular intervals can help in brushing up on basic conversational skills and introduce advanced communication skills like presentation, business writing, and managerial training.

3. Using project management tools can help track project progress

Cloud-based storage and software have become commonplace in most offices, and for good reason. They allow for transparency across teams, giving everyone the ability to track their progress, collaborate with other members, and check details and due dates.

4. Do fun stuff to boost morale

While formal communication systems, feedback, and project management tools can improve communication, nothing is as effective as team-building exercises that help build a natural camaraderie among team members.

Host an after-work pizza party once a month, put out a few board games in the break room, or use platforms like HatQuest to host quick Friday-evening team games. Such activities help co-workers get comfortable around each other and allow them to communicate more naturally. Let’s move towards a world where “work friends” is a real thing.

Additional Communication Tips for Remote Teams

Communication channels and models can look very different offices functioning in person and for those working remotely or in a hybrid situation. The post-pandemic era calls for some tweaks to traditional models of communication to ensure that a team functions smoothly. Here are some tips for effective asynchronous or remote communication.

1. Pick written communication over oral whenever possible

In a remote setup, getting people onto a call or meeting may not always be feasible because your teammates might be away or because your schedules don’t match. Leaving things to a meeting may slow down your pace of work.

So, instead of setting up a call, make a record of your thoughts and strategies and write to your teammates. Of course, written correspondence may also take some time, but it’s better than losing your train of thought as you wait on your teammates to get on a call. And written communication doesn’t always have to mean writing formal emails. Just drop them a quick message on Slack or whatever other channels of communication your team uses.

2. Do your research before you ask

Yes, we said over-communication was good, but see if you can find answers to your questions in any of your company’s internal resources or otherwise. If you still don’t find it, then you can go ahead and ask on a public channel or a teammate you’re sure of getting a solution from.

And make sure to document the answers you get so that you don’t have to go around looking for them the next time you’re stuck.

3. Have an open-door policy

An open-door policy is when anyone can ask questions, voice concerns, and pitch ideas at any time and to anybody on the team. This not only helps in building trust within your team but also encourages cross-functional collaboration.

Folks who want to find information and learn things beyond just their designated job can do so easily if things are shared in an open space and meetings are open to everyone. Of course, this can’t be done in all instances, but can help build a healthy workplace when done right.

4. Don’t wait till the eleventh hour to ask for help

Even though you may be working remotely, you still have to collaborate with your teammates and work on projects together. If you have a task in progress and don’t seem to be able to see it through to the end without some assistance, ask for help immediately.

Remote teams are already known for delayed communication systems, and waiting till the last moment to convey your needs to your teammates will only worsen things. The longer you wait, the harder the task gets, and you’re more likely to miss your deadlines.

The sooner you ask for help, the sooner your teammates can join you on the ride to making it better.

You can use all these tips to bring your team together, improve communication, and generally make the workplace a more enjoyable and stress-free place to be. Make your office a space where projects get completed on time, team members are fully informed of their roles and responsibilities, and you function together like well-oiled parts of a machine.


Radhika Shenoy