en it comes to office operations, time is money! Finding ways to make your office operations quicker and more efficient will usually translate to a better bottom line, and one of the most problematic areas is office correspondence. No matter the size of the office, ensuring the free flow of accurate communication is the key to achieving a productive work environment. Here are some great tips that you can use to improve your internal office communication, ranging from high-tech methods such as using online productivity apps to low-cost methods like using brightly-colored Starburst envelopes.
1. Appoint an Office Point Person – and You Might Not be the Best Candidate
For many employees, it’s difficult to approach the boss for any concerns that they might have, whether it’s personal or professional. There’s always a professional barrier that’s there by default, and employees may be hesitant or embarrassed to cross that barrier, especially if there is a chance that they might end up looking unprofessional in front of their co-workers.
This is the reason why it’s important to establish a point of contact that can work as a bridge between you and your employees. In most companies, it’s generally someone from the HR department, but if you don’t have an HR department, you can consider appointing a senior employee or one that most other employees trust.
2. Encourage a Culture of Asking Questions
No one wants to look like they’re ignorant of the company that they are working for, which is why many employees fail to communicate when they are struggling at their work. However, the key to any harmonious workplace is that both employees and management are able to communicate easily and efficiently with each other.
Policies that encourage asking questions is a strong way to help make employees feel comfortable with their company. It can be something as simple as putting suggestion boxes around your workplace! Encourage your employees to use these suggestion boxes to air out their concerns about the company with the protection of anonymity so that they can feel comfortable with being honest about everything that they have on their minds.
3. Use Communication Tools Online
There are many online programs and software that can help companies communicate with each other. You can use direct messaging apps like Skype or team productivity tools such as Slack and Workzone. Even team management apps such as Trello and Asana are great communication tools.
4. Don’t be a Stickler about Time
There’s a reason why “chatting over the water cooler” is a popular trope: employees do communicate better with each other during break times. Consider increasing break times for your employees, but if that’s not possible, at least don’t be overly strict about employees being back at their desks once their lunch break is over.
Allowing employees small breaks to chat while getting a snack, hanging out in the break room, or simply recharging makes them feel more comfortable with each other. Relaxed and happy employees are much more productive, resourceful, and open to finding solutions to office dilemmas.
5. Use a “Color” System
Even something as simple as using colored envelopes can help with office communications. Brightly-colored Starburst envelopes are much more noticeable compared to white or dull-colored envelopes, so if an employee sees these envelopes on their desks, they will respond more quickly.
You can create a color-coded system for these envelopes. Red, for example, can mean urgent matters that need to be prioritized, blue can mean direct messages from you to a particular employee, and green can simply contain an employee’s paycheck! Using color-coded envelopes, employees can immediately have an idea of what an envelope can contain at a glance without even opening the envelope, and they’ll be able to react accordingly.
6. Invest in Communications Workshops
If your office budget allows for it, you should consider holding communication workshops for your employees regularly. It not only allows your employees the chance to talk to their co-workers in a safe and professional environment, but it also teaches management and HR personnels the techniques on how to promote a more positive culture of communication in your company.
Communication workshops can also be a venue for employees to forge a stronger bond with each other. Many of these workshops can be combined with team building activities, which are also fun and relaxing! If this is the case, you should consider setting aside a whole weekend for these workshops so that the process is done correctly and not rushed through