The benefits of digital communication in the workplace are plentiful, but you need a solid strategy to make the best use of those tools.
The modern workplace is awash in digital communication. Email, for decades now, has been one of the most thoroughly used digital communications tools. To a lesser extent, video conferencing with remote workers and clients has been a thing, too. But when the pandemic made remote working an absolute necessity (that will persist into the future), digital communication tools have become increasingly crucial in the workplace. In addition to traditional methods of communication, like phone calls and email, we’ve now added virtual meetings, instant messaging, and workflow apps that blend with social media and with internal communications on multiple levels. Even podcasts and company blogs are merging into the daily employee experience.
With the benefits of digital communication in the workplace being so clear, it is essential for businesses to develop a coherent digital communications strategy. While all of these digital communication channels are great for breaking down communication barriers, keeping employees engaged, and efficient knowledge sharing, they can also create security vulnerabilities that expose sensitive information and blur the important lines that create a healthy work-life balance — especially for remote employees.
Although there are many benefits of using digital communication in the workplace, it’s important to develop a good digital communication policy so that your organization gets most of the benefits with few of the downsides. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.
1. Real-time communication
In today’s digital workplaces, real-time communication through instant messages, email, video conferencing, and other digital tools is extremely important in uniting the entire workforce. Faster broadband speeds allow remote and on-site workers to share ideas, large data files, video presentations, podcasts, and other content from anywhere on the planet, in real-time. When face-to-face communication isn’t possible, digital tools can be effective in making remote employees and customers feel like they’re with you — even if they’re thousands of miles away. This can improve the customer experience, and it can keep employees engaged anywhere.
When face-to-face communication isn’t possible, digital tools can be effective in making remote employees and customers feel like they’re with you — even if they’re thousands of miles away.
2. Increased productivity
New technologies have allowed the creation of remote working experiences that have upended the pre-pandemic notion that productivity would suffer if employees were working from home. When we all entered a situation in which the work environment had to be remote, many organizations quickly saw some of the tangible business benefits of relying on digital communication tools and remote work. For example, without the need for a commute to and from work, employees were more rested and relaxed and were able to get more (and better) work done in less time. This positive employee experience led to improved employee satisfaction, which also fed productivity gains.
3. Enhanced tech skills and training
Another benefit of the digital transformation of the workplace is that flex- and home-based employees are learning all kinds of new skills. With every new tool that they master, their skills increase and they are able to improve their productivity and confidence. Many companies are offering their on-site and remote workers the opportunity to continue their education through these new communication tools. Instead of having to send employees to a seminar somewhere and pay for travel, food, and lodging expenses, a plethora of online classes, podcasts, and seminars are now available to help employees gain more skills, either from home or while at the office.
4. Increased knowledge sharing and innovation
It bears repeating that one of the biggest benefits of digital communication in today’s workplaces is that geography matters so much less now than it did before. Teams on different continents can collaborate and can bring fresh perspectives together using video meetings, instant messages, data files, and other digital technologies — instantaneously. This blending of ideas across cultures, teams, and continents can generate unexpected and competitively-exciting innovations that were heretofore unheard of. This can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line and on your efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
5. An expanded talent pool
As a big plus for hiring managers, these new digital communication tools make it possible for you to hire the best candidates from anywhere. Geography is no object. It’s easier than ever to find qualified candidates online, train them online, and have them integrate directly into your global team and work remotely, using the right tools.
6. Increased employee retention
talented employees are more likely to stay if they know that they can do their best work in an atmosphere where they feel they can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Now that employees and leaders all know what it means to work remotely and to have flexible schedules, there’s really no going back. This is especially true of the up-and-coming Generation Z employees who have grown up with the expectation of having to work hard, but with the flexibility to do it where and when they feel most productive. Digital communication tools are there to make it happen, so talented employees are more likely to stay if they know that they can do their best work in an atmosphere where they feel they can maintain a healthy work-life balance. This helps companies save a lot of time, money, and energy; they don’t have to constantly replace employees whom they could have kept in the first place, if they’d only had the right flexibility options.
Create the right digital workforce strategy
Today’s workplace can be more interactive, more egalitarian, productive, and engaged than ever before, regardless of geography. This is all because of the new technologies and tools that give us more communication. To get key guidance on how to implement digital communication and to get help with a smart strategy for building it within your workplace, contact the Zenefits team. We help you, as an HR professional and a business leader, select the right digital tools for the needs of your organization.