Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Annie Walton Doyle – a freelance writer with Inspiring Interns. Her opinions are her own.
There are many things that go into fostering a positive workplace environment. But one of the most essential things to an office which is both efficient and pleasant is communication. Here are 13 reasons why it’s so essential.
1. It minimises mistakes
One of the most common reasons for workplace mistakes is a lack of communication. If someone doesn’t quite know what they’re supposed to be doing, it’s all too easy for a Chinese Whispers style ripple effect. Projects can therefore veer wildly off track. Maintaining a chain of communication throughout any project is essential to making sure any mistakes are nipped in the bud and easily dealt with before things get out of hand.
2. It protects people’s feelings
It’s absolutely essential that people are kept in the loop – particularly when the matter being discussed is themselves. A key aspect of avoiding feelings of rejection and disappointment is to remove any element of surprise. If someone is underperforming, telling them quickly and noticing if they make a change is a far better strategy than avoiding the issue and letting things worsen.
3. It boosts efficiency
Communication is absolutely essential to efficiency, particularly when you’re working as part of a team. Knowing exactly who needs to do what, and when will reduce the risk of unnecessary work being undertaken, which wastes valuable time. Communication is also key to effective delegation. You can discover people’s strengths and weaknesses, and play to them. This can not only produce work faster, but get it to a higher level of quality.
4. It can prevent conflict
Office conflicts are one of the most difficult aspects of a shared workplace. And more often than not, they’re a result of miscommunication which has been left to fester. By having a more open and honest atmosphere, people can air their grievances early before they’ve become too emotionally invested. Issues can be dealt with more quickly and people can thus get past them.
5. It keeps morale higher
An office where everyone communicates well is always a happier one. If people feel their voices are being heard and respected, they’ll work harder and feelings of resentment or annoyance will be avoided. Knowing that any issues can be dealt with will make people feel more comfortable and confident in the workplace. And a workplace with good morale will always achieve more than one filled with unhappy, aggrieved workers.
6. It goes both ways
Good communication strategies are designed not only to allow bosses to communicate with their team, but vice versa. This means workers who would typically be thought of as lower down the ladder have an opportunity to submit ideas and strategies that bosses may never have thought of. This is a great way to get fresh perspectives and potentially better solutions to problems. It also means that those with innovative ideas can shine, helping them to develop their career at a faster pace.
7. It fosters mutual respect
A good line of communication is also essential for maintaining respect within a team. This means not only that workers are kept informed of their performance and progress, but that they are allowed to feed back to bosses about their experiences, too. In order to feel like your workplace respects you, it’s absolutely essential to feel your voice is being heard and your thoughts being addressed. This type of communication can also help with efficiency, as those who are working on a project may have a totally different perspective from the team leader.
8. It reinforces teamwork
There’s no way an office will feel like a team if the team members aren’t communicating with each other. In order to work well together, people need to be talking – not just about delegation, but brainstorming ideas, dealing with potential problems as they arise, getting fresh perspectives and bonding with each other. Feeling like you’re all in this together is one of the most important aspects of a positive workspace, and that is impossible if you aren’t communicating with each other.
9. It focuses people on a goal
On a similar note, good communication is the best way to reinforce focus within a team. Left to their own devices, messages can become muddled in people’s minds. Staying in contact with the team will help make sure everyone is working towards the same outcome and that nothing has become lost in translation.
10. It increases accountability
Within offices where communication has broken down, people can much more easily skate by doing the bare minimum without ever being pulled up on it. If active communication is pursued, people don’t have anywhere to hide. Thus, working to the best of their ability becomes the only option. Plus, good communication ensures that no good deed goes unnoticed, so it’s a double edged sword in terms of boosting accountability.
11. It grows motivation
In the same way, knowing that what’s going on will always be noticed will hugely motivates people. This means communication is an essential way to keep people working to the best of their ability. Good communication also promotes innovation and the implementation of new ideas, which can make projects be completed faster and to a higher standard. It’ll also promote a more dynamic workspace, where decisions and made and things get done at a faster pace.
12. It keeps people informed
People generally dislike feeling that they’re not in the loop in terms of work. The best way to combat this is through promoting an open communication strategy. Whether you’re encouraging quick weekly meetings where everyone can address issues and celebrate successes, or dispersing newsletter updates as and when they’re necessary, it’s important to think about how you’re keeping everyone informed.
13. It promotes honesty
While being honest about workplace issues can be easier said than done, it’s incredibly important. Without honesty, there’s no real way to solve problems, heal conflicts and promote efficient workflow. Honest communication must be both encouraged and rewarded in order for a team to work at their best.