Harmless? Sure, but what about all the digital communication that occurs at work? How does it affect employee productivity and overall workplace performance? What steps can managers take to help improve digital communication between their team members?
More than 99 percent of the world’s population owns a cell phone. Best estimates show that the number is around 5 billion people worldwide, with about 2.5 billion owning smartphones, according to statista.com. It means pretty much everyone you know has some device in their pocket that allows them to send text messages and even make phone calls at any time or place they want. A person could be walking down the street, sitting in an airport waiting for their plane to arrive. They are relaxing on vacation in another country, not paying attention to their surroundings (and missing all kinds of things), or sitting right next to you watching TV. Suddenly, an alert pops on their screen, notifying them, there is a new text message.
1) Create a Company-Wide Policy
One of the first things managers should do is create a company-wide digital communication policy. For example, you could have your employees limit the amount of time. They spend texting friends during office hours or not allow them to use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., while at work altogether (although there are chances this may lower morale). Allow your employees to communicate with anyone via an instant messaging system. You can also develop a company-wide policy that outlines how often employees should be checking their messages and the guidelines for creating “distracting” chats.
2) Set Rules for Your Team
In addition to setting rules for your entire team, managers should also set rules with each employee. Thee want to make sure every person is on the same page. When it comes to digital communication at work, so there aren’t any surprises later. Some employees may have trouble sticking to the rules. Because they don’t know how much time they’re spending texting or scrolling through Facebook updates and Twitter feeds. To avoid this problem, managers can use technology like RescueTime. Which allows them to track keyboard activity and track exactly how long employees spend on various websites.
3) Use a Digital Communication Monitoring Tool
Another way to solve the problem of employees getting too distracted by digital communication during office hours is to use a monitoring tool. Certain tools designed for managers allow them to monitor their team members on company devices. Including sites they visit on their work computers and smartphones. If managers find that one of their employees is spending too much time texting or chatting on Facebook or Twitter, they can talk with him privately. They may want to ask the employee some questions like: Do you have trouble managing your time? Is this distracting you from your work? Does it hurt your job performance? Are there other things that could help you use your time more productively?
One tool that allows managers to monitor their employees’ digital communication is Command Fusion’s Fusion Charts, which comes with an app called FusionWorx. This specific application allows managers to track all company devices used to send instant messages, check out virtual desktop activity, and even block websites to which employees are not supposed to have access.
4) Hold A Company-Wide Meeting
Talking one-on-one with individual employees about digital communication isn’t always effective. Employees may find it easier to make excuses or tell white lies instead of owning up to how much time they spend texting or on social media sites during office hours. If you want more accountability, consider hosting a company-wide meeting to roll out your new policy on digital communication. During the meeting, managers can talk openly about why employees may need to use digital communication tools. During work hours and how it affects productivity. For example, an employee may not realize that they are spending more time on Facebook than they thought. Or another might have realized just how distracting texting is for them.
5) Be a Role Model
The adage “do as I say, not as I do” does not apply here! Suppose you truly want your workforce’s behavior to change. In that case, you should set a good example by putting away your mobile device. When you’re working and limiting your own social media usage during office hours. One study even found that people respect authority more when those in power also demonstrate self-discipline, so if you want to be seen as a role model – start by putting away your device during work hours!
6) Set an Example For Your Employees
To encourage employees to build better communication skills, managers should set an example for those they manage and demonstrate the right way to do things. To have a productive digital communication policy at work, managers themselves need to follow it, including putting their smartphones away when they’re working and not chatting with friends or family on Facebook or Twitter.
7) Let Employees Know What You Expect From Them
Everyone in the office must know what is expected of them, so there aren’t any misunderstandings later on down the line. That means that managers should tell employees what notifications are allowed during work hours. What kind of digital communication they should use to contact the team if necessary. And how much time they can spend on their phones or devices. They should also remind employees that updating social media sites is not part of their job requirements unless connected with work!
8) Have A Never Email Policy
Email is great for work, but it’s not always good for your employees’ personal lives or relationships with friends and family. That’s why some companies have implemented a “never email” policy which prohibits their employees from writing even short notes to other staff members. Suppose managers want to protect the emotional well-being of their workforce. In that case, they need to discourage emails about negative emotions. Like anger, frustration, sadness, etc., since they can lead to unnecessary stress and tension.
9) Remind Them That Phone Calls Are Better Than Emails
Tech-savvy employees may think that email is the only way to communicate with co-workers. But their managers should teach them that phone calls or in-person meetings are more effective when dealing with difficult topics. Suppose an employee has a complaint about another team member’s behavior. In that case, they’ll probably get a much better response by calling the person aside and talking things face-to-face. Managers should encourage their staff not to use emails. When it comes to complicated discussions or disagreements because they allow people to argue back and forth without settling anything!
10) Hire Employees Who Are Digital Communication Savvy
Finally, some companies solve their digital communication problems by hiring people with “digital natures.” These employees are comfortable using technology and social media tools and can easily spot when someone is misusing their devices or sending inappropriate messages. If you want to improve the way your workforce uses digital communication, don’t just tell them not to use Facebook at work – do some recruiting instead!
With so many different digital communication tools to choose from, it’s easy for employees to abuse them and ruin the work environment. That’s why managers need to establish clear guidelines for their staff. So everyone knows what is expected of them when using these technologies at work. If you want your team to improve their digital communication skills at home, too, start by setting a good example yourself!