Summary
In any organization where there is lack of effective and open communication, workplace issues will almost inevitably arise. (Tips & Tools)
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." - George Bernard Shaw  
This quote pretty much sums up the root cause of all conflicts in the workplace. Often it is seen that managers do not realize the importance of communication in the workplace and thus do not convey their ideas, organizational goals, employee duties, etc., very clearly. When the seniors in the organization are unable to create an organizational environment which promotes open and clear communication, it can have negative repercussions on the work culture and the employee productivity.

In any organization where there is lack of effective and open communication, workplace issues such as high employee turnover and wastage of organizational resources, often arise. To avoid these, clear-cut and precise workplace communication is a must for any organization.

Open communication, whether between the employees or between the employees and managers or between the management and all employees, leads to formation of better personal and professional relationships. If they frequently interact and communicate with each other over professional and personal issues, the employees feel cared for and this in turn creates better working relationships.

Open communication in the workplace can save many workplace conflicts. For example, if two employees have a disagreement over some issue, and instead of resolving it and arriving at a solution, they end up taking the whole thing personally and if it continues for a very long period, it may lead to a work related crisis where in they might even refuse to talk or work together in the future. Such communication issues in the workplace can be nipped in the bud if the managers act as a mediator and let the two warring employees put across their thoughts and opinions to each other through open and clear communication. Thus, if the communication between various people in the organization is good, it will lead to successful conflict management in the workplace and employees will be able to understand each others' point of view much more clearly.

Consider your communication skills next time you feel you are spiraling towards a conflict with one of your co-workers, or a supervisor. Here are some tips/tools for improving communication in the workplace:

The most successful tools to use are those which allow face-to-face communication skills in the workplace to be actually seen (e.g. video-conferencing/video-messaging). These ensure that any non-verbal cues and facial expressions can be read along with audio/text.

Skype: Provides voice and video calls as well as text messages and instant messaging facilities. Leads to informal communication for the simple things, leaving emails for more in-depth communication.

Instant messengers: There are several applications to pick from (Google Chat, MSN Messenger, etc.) which allow you to have a synchronous conversation with team colleagues, just so long as they are online at the same time.

Yammer: Useful in connecting with other people from across the globe, city, or just within the building. Can be used for finding contacts, support, organisational management structure, and it also acts as the occasional water cooler for company employees. Often referred to as the Office Facebook.

However you want to improve productivity through better communication in the workplace, remember to make sure your employer is OK with it first! Some employers think that desktop applications (apps) are non-productive, and may well be very hesitant to implement them. research however, would suggest otherwise. Take the research to your boss before you download that IM!

For more advice on workplace communication tools, contact us.