In the past three decades, the development of technologies has allowed most the people in developed countries to constantly accessible for communications in one form or another. These digital channels include offline or online voice calls, video calls, and textual or voice messages. As such, the benefits of the latter tools are difficult to estimate as they revolutionized many spheres of people’s interaction, making it faster and more convenient. However, similarly to face-to-face conversations, digital communications necessitate a certain set of rules to achieve better information exchange effectiveness. Most of the norms of the former way of interaction are internalized during the socialization process. In contrast, due to their relative infancy, digital communications are still not governed by commonly shared norms. For this reason, businesses that seek success should apply the best digital communication practices to organize the work effectively.
The Best Digital Communication Practices to Organize the Work
Firstly, the research suggests that delivering non-urgent and non-essential information personally or through phone calls during the working day may be a better idea in terms of employee productivity. For example, previous studies indicate that most employees seek to keep their email boxes free of congestion and spend time sorting and deleting incoming messages (Stich et al., 2018). On the one hand, this leads to increased perceived information and work overload, negatively affecting employees’ psychological well-being (Jalagat, 2017). On the other hand, this activity interrupts workers from their current tasks. In this regard, it was found that the employees need approximately fifteen minutes to return to their duties after receiving a message (Stich et al., 2018). Conversely, personal communications or phone calls lack these shortcomings and thus should be preferred over emails or instant messages.
Moreover, the company managers should ensure that all of their employees possess sufficient skills to use digital technologies, especially if special non-popular communication platforms such as enterprise social media are used. It is explained by the fact that the interaction success via digital means is significantly associated with a person’s ‘technological fluency’ (Wei et al., 2020). In other words, if a person has difficulties using a certain device or application, he or she will not be able to fully enjoy all the benefits of digital communications. Therefore, in order to avoid this kind of issue, a firm can offer employee training.
Last but not least, managers should address the work-life balance problem when embracing digital communications. Although constant worker accessibility can improve overall company performance in most cases, contacting an employee or a colleague during off-work time can have negative consequences. In particular, scholars emphasize that vague boundaries between work and personal time lead to increased stress, emotional exhaustion, work-life conflict, and, consequently, decreased job satisfaction (Piszczek, 2017). Thus, managers should intend to minimize digital communication after working hours, allowing the discussion of solely essential questions. Additionally, the firm can help its subordinates to integrate work and life as previous studies indicate that it reduces the negative effects of the necessity to conduct work-related duties during free time (Piszczek, 2017). For instance, the company can allow its employees to arrive at work later or leave earlier and conduct certain tasks such as answering emails at home.
Overall, it was shown the necessity to regulate digital communications in the workplace as they can only bring benefits when used properly. Although there are several practices that firms can implement, the best three among them are communication of non-urgent information via phone calls or personal communications, employee digital communication training, and off-work interaction limitation. These measures can ensure that workers possess sufficient skills to use new technologies, are not overwhelmed by the information, and can establish a better work-life balance.
Jalagat, R. (2017). Determinants of job stress and its relationship on employee job performance. American Journal of Management Science and Engineering, 2(1), 1-10.
Piszczek, M. M. (2017). Boundary control and controlled boundaries: Organizational expectations for technology use at the work–family interface. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(4), 592-611.
Stich, J. F., Tarafdar, M., & Cooper, C. L. (2018). Electronic communication in the workplace: boon or bane? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 5(1), 98-106. Web.
Wei, C., Pitafi, A. H., Kanwal, S., Ali, A., & Ren, M. (2020). Improving employee agility using enterprise social media and digital fluency: Moderated mediation model. IEEE Access, 8, 68799-68810.