Excerpted from a GetVoiP Blog by Brynne Ramella

The business landscape was one of the many elements of everyday life that was turned utterly upside down in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus forced nearly every member of the workforce to go remote for the foreseeable future. This unknowingly created a number of business communication issues.

Many workplaces that previously had strict policies in place regarding employees working from home had to forgo those previous rules. This put them in completely unknown territory, which meant that companies had to learn to communicate in a way they were previously not familiar with.

Lack of Standardization
For the foreseeable future, in-person meetings are a thing of the past. Technology has given us a plethora of options for where those communications can go, but now the issue is what sort of communication should go where. You need to decide when and where you communicate about different topics. Lack of standardization can lead to communication silos and confusion amongst your employees. Overall, it will hurt your business’s day-to-day operations.

The best way to solve this problem is to standardize workplace communication processes for every channel. Create clear guidelines for what type of communications should go in which channels. For example, important tasks should be documented in an email to the appropriate team members.

Misinterpretation and Ambiguity
Perhaps the biggest benefit of in-person meetings is that the context and motivations behind words exchanged in conversations are usually fairly clear. That’s because people can ask follow-up clarifying questions at the moment if they need them. With written conversation, that opportunity is lost and miscommunication and communication breakdowns happen.

But since in-person communications have been severely limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are opting for intranet communication channels and email to communicate with colleagues. It’s simply quicker and more efficient than needing to coordinate video or phone calls. But those on the receiving end may not receive it in real-time. That can lead to some issues in communicating clearly and potentially difficult conversations.

The convenience of those channels is great for a busy employee but comes with a number of disadvantages. It’s easy to misinterpret someone’s thoughts through written communication.

Lack of Cues in Written Communication
Just as with unintentionally sending ambiguous messages, solely relying on written communications channels is bound to cause some communication issues. Without being able to leverage body cues, facial expression, or tone, it’s incredibly easy for communicators to misinterpret someone’s intentions. Lack of verbal cues can be especially confusing in conversations in which cultural differences are a factor. The friendliest person may come off differently in written conversation, which can be incredibly jarring to some people.

You can utilize multiple communication methods to ensure your message is being sent with the same tone you meant to convey. If you want to send a more light-hearted message, throw in an emoji or exclamation point. More businesses are beginning to leverage emojis as an innovative business communication tool. This will transform a message from stern-sounding to one that is positive and encouraging. It will save you from unintentionally forcing a colleague to wonder if you’re displeased with them.

For the full story and solutions to these issues, please click here.