In large offices, it’s not possible to run somewhere every time you need to talk to someone. For this reason, many companies have developed products and tools to improve intra-office communication. There are literally thousands, but here are a few of the best.
Allow Social Media Use
Employees should be allowed to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn while in the office. Twitter works almost like a digital pager and can allow people to communicate instantaneously. You can sort people you follow into lists, so you’ll never get your coworkers and clients mixed up with your friends outside of work. With Facebook and LinkedIn, you can set up private pages and groups to communicate with coworkers. Just make sure to adjust the privacy settings on the social network that you decide to use so only those associated with the company can read your messages.
There’s actually another social media site that you may not have heard of — Yammer. Yammer’s an alternative to Facebook or Google Plus that allows your employees to talk, privately, to each other. Yammer offers a free service that has basic features, or a premium service that has extra features.
Integrate a BYOD policy
With a BYOD policy, you’ll allow employees to bring their own devices in. They can share their numbers and communicate via text messages. BlackBerry is branching out to other devices, and with BBM for Android, you can communicate with those in your office quickly and easily. You’ll be able to talk with coworkers, as well as share voice messages, documents, and even share your screen with them! It’s not available yet, so be sure to check bbm for android online and sign up for a notification so you’ll be alerted the second it becomes available.
With a BYOD policy, you’ll save your company a ton of money. You won’t have to worry about ordering cell phones and signing each one up for a new service and data plan. With BlackBerry’s Mobile Device Management for their BlackBerry 10 line of phones, you’ll be able to install software and keep all of your employees up to date with the latest software. It’s extremely secure, so you don’t have to worry about any company information slipping through the cracks.
With over 500 million subscribers, Skype is one of the most popular services in the world. Skype allows you to talk to anyone, anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. If they don’t, you have the option of purchasing Skype credits and using it like a phone service.
Skype allows you to add contacts and have private chats. You can also section those chats off into groups and have private chats with multiple people. You can make free video calls as well, so if you’ve got a co-worker that has to go out of town on business, you can still connect with them to show important documents.
As if that wasn’t enough, Skype also has Wi-Fi connectivity. With Skype Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to connect at over a million locations worldwide.
Set Up a Message Board
While this may be a little unorthodox, it can also be therapeutic. Having an office message board will allow workers to anonymously voice their concerns, no matter what it’s about. It can also serve double duty and be a place for workers to sell items and plan gatherings outside of the office.
The Basics: Meetings & Email
Having meetings is a great way to improve communication. Meetings will allow you to be crystal clear as to what’s going on with the company. You can also take questions from other employees. Having a routine meeting every week, such as every Friday at 3 p.m., will give employees something to look forward to each week.
E-mail, of course, has been around for decades, and it’s not going away any time soon. It remains the top choice for office communication for a good reason. With e-mail, you work on each other’s time. If the other person doesn’t have time to respond to it, they can come back to it later. For those that get flustered easily, e-mail is perfect as it allows you to formulate your thoughts before typing anything out.
Install an Integrated Phone System
Installing an integrated phone system is crucial for large companies. Assign each worker his or her own extension number, and make a public directory readily available for the entire company. This will allow employees to quickly and easily get in touch with the person they need to talk to.
Utilize Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is one of the best things to happen to technology this decade. For the uninitiated, cloud storage is essentially taking work on your computer and storing it in an online digital locker. From there, anyone can access the file, make changes, and re-upload it.
There are some services out there, such as Google Drive, that allow you to work with multiple people at once while saving everything to the cloud. You can work together in real-time, allowing everyone to make changes to the document no matter where they are in the world.
It’s not just for documents, either. Google Drive allows you to remotely work on spreadsheets and presentations. You can make any file available on Google Drive, making it convenient for everyone involved.
Use a CRM tool
You’d be wise to invest in a Customer Relationship Management tool. This tool allows anyone to see communications between the staff and the client. Every oral and written conversation, every e-mail, and every document is stored remotely. When it comes time to deal with that client, no matter who deals with them, every bit of information will be available. When everyone in your office is on the same page, it’ll run like a well-oiled machine.
There are many ways to improve intra-office communication. These are just a few recommendations, and they’re not guaranteed to work for your office. Have you tried any of the above? Did they work? If not, what methods did you use?