The 6 best tools to improve office communication

The way you communicate matters, and the degree to which you communicate also matters. Use the wrong tools and your conversations can be had in a never-ending circle. Use too few tools and your conversations can never be had at all.

Source  – Forbes

In the world of business, the tools you use to communicate can have an effect on your productivity, employee morale, efficiency, and customer experience. It can grow your business into something amazing or transform your business into something despised.     

As an IT provider, we’ve helped many teams improve their standards of communication by integrating modern communication tools into their day-to-day operations. We’ve seen these tools open up new doors and grow 10-person teams into 50-person teams. But what exactly are these tools and how do they work? Here are 6 of our favorites to get you headed in the right direction.

Email

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Sorry to break it to you, but finding a way to work without email won’t exactly improve office communication. At this point, email is (and will continue to be) a vital part of internal and external communication at work. In other words, don’t dump all those unread, barely sorted emails quite yet.

Source SaneBox

However, what you should think about is finding a better way to handle email in general. Do this and your communication standard at work will rise naturally. This can involve quite a few paths, so here are a few ideas to start you off.

    1. Easy Access: What good is an email platform if you can’t hop onto it from any location? Not so good. You need to find a platform that is mobile enough to allow you to work on-the-go and flexible enough to allow you to work with any device you have available.
    2. Search Functionality: Give yourself the ability to search for an email (whether it’s one hour old or one year old and whether you’re searching by sender, subject, or content), and you’ll instantly feel the stress melt away and your productivity reach new heights.
    3. Automatic Sorting: As the emails pile into your inbox, they all shouldn’t go into the same place. They should be sorted and organized automatically, so you know where to jump to first. For example, you could sort emails by clients, vendors, staff, and personal.
    4. Email Etiquette: If you really want to improve the standard of your back-and-forth email communication, then you need to make sure you’re sending and receiving emails in the best way possible – for example, highlighting key phrases, staying away from the “reply all,” and writing emails that don’t look like novels.Take a look at 100 Email Tricks to Make You an Inbox Zero Hero if you want to know more.

Instant Messaging

The light at the end of the tunnel

While email can often feel like a necessary evil within the workplace, instant messaging can feel like the wind beneath your wings and look like an angel in disguise. Instant messages typically aren’t sent or received with a feeling of dread; they can be handled instantly without taking up your time, and they can even help you thin out your inbox.

For instance, take all those simple document requests, all those yes-or-no questions, and all those off-the-cuff comments and suggestions. Odds are, these are handled through your inbox (or that thing with buttons and a speaker on your desk). Nonetheless, all this really does is hamper your productivity. It could take hours or even days for someone to respond to your message, and it’ll only end up resulting in a thread of unnecessary back-and-forth emails.

On the other hand, hop on over to instant messaging and things can be resolved in a matter of seconds. Oh, someone needs a file? With a service like Skype, you can quickly drag and drop files into a message. Request handled. But wait… someone has a question? Type a simple yes or no into the box. Question answered.     

Video

Use your ears and your eyes.   

You may not think so, but these days, being able to jump onto a video call is not that big of a deal anymore. It’s not a super modern technology, and it’s not something that only a few “select” companies have. It’s a common tool for any business – large, small, or in-between.

Source Queens University

If you have the ability to hold video conferences with a group of people or to simply have a quick video chat with a remote team member, then your communication standards will improve greatly. At this point, you can take things out of the inbox and away from the phone and see things for what they really are. Pick up on body language, understand physical surroundings, and with the right video tool, share screens with one another (check out GoToMeeting, Skype, or Zoom).   

File-Sharing

Plenty of benefits to go around

The benefits of file-sharing are great… too great for any business to miss out on. With the ability to send and receive files from anywhere and with any device, you can improve mobility, productivity, and customer service. You can save time, reduce hassle, and avoid common hiccups. You can even bring up employee morale as a byproduct. It seems like a lot, but in reality, we’re just getting started. So if you want to know more about the benefits of file-sharing, then take a look at this.

Team Platform

We gather, and we conquer.

If you’re really hurting for a way to improve communication around the office, then track down a team platform – something like Slack, Basecamp, Trello, or Huddle. These are the web apps that can do it all – instant messaging, file-sharing, project management, and so much more. They can take everything everyone is working on, talking about, or thinking of and bring it all together into one central location.

Source Queens University

Depending on what tool you’re using, you can communicate with the entire office, a predetermined group of people, or a specific individual. You can set it up so that certain notifications or discussions are forwarded to your inbox, and some tools will even go a step further to allow you to receive notifications on your phone. You can drag and drop files, manage workflows, and even share certain pieces of your platform with clients. Again… they can do it all.

Phone System

Till death do you part

Just like email, your business will always require a good phone system, both for internal and external purposes. And, just like video, what you might consider to be super modern phone capabilities, probably aren’t.

So, when it comes down to it, you need a phone system that can:

  1. Scale easily – add or remove lines quickly and at a low cost
  2. Remain budget-friendly – receive an affordable and “known” monthly rate
  3. Handle mobility – transfer inbound calls to other connected devices when you’re out of the office
  4. Rep a slew of “modern” features – use features like voicemail-to-email, auto attendant, and desktop integration
  5. Keep you connected – maintain a quality connection at all hours of the workday

If your current phone system isn’t delivering all of these benefits to your business, then you’re missing out… and in a “I’m losing money and looking unprofessional” kind of way.

How can Stronghold Data help your business achieve better communication?

Technology is what we know and do best, and as an IT Provider, we have decades of combined experience building and perfecting a variety of technology solutions for our clients. Whether you’re looking to improve your phone system or discover new methods of communication, we can give you hand.  

Give us a call or shoot us a message. We’d love to talk.