Every company culture is different. However, existing teams have their structure for working together, especially if they were established in a pre-2020 environment where they were in the office together daily.
Suppose a team is heavily invested in using email to communicate with each other. In that case, they might not take well to a new chat tool being introduced that forces them to monitor another inbox daily.
The kind of work a team does might also impact which tool is best suited for them. For example, a customer service team might prefer email to work with customers but might prefer a simple chat tool to chat internally and share files.
An important decision for business leaders is picking the right tool(s) that their employees enjoy using, but one that also promotes communication and productivity.
What Type of Organization are You Working With?
Organizations can generally be broken down into two types today: remote teams or in-office teams (of a mix of the two). How your teams are structured will play a key role in how to communicate at work effectively.
One key consideration for communication is understanding when to use synchronous vs. asynchronous communication in the workplace, and understanding what kind of team you work with plays a huge role.
If you’re working on a team that’s mainly in the office, you’ll often rely on synchronous communication methods – even if you’re remote a day or two at a time. On the other hand, if you’re on a team that primarily works remotely, you’ll want to lean into asynchronous communication, even if you plan to work in the office.
What Type of Message are You Sending?
Different types of communication tools will be best utilized for certain types of messages. Before sending a message – consider the formality needed. If you’re sending to a large group, email might be preferable to a chat-based tool. If you’re scheduling an after-work happy hour (virtual or in-person), a company chat will be preferable for brevity.
If you aren’t sure, it’s better to lean to the side of choosing a more formal method (email) when unsure over sending a formal message in an informal channel (chat). Anytime that senior managers in an organization are included in the conversation, it’s best to default to more formal methods.
Picking a Communication Tool Requires Knowing Your Audience
There are three distinct types of communication at work. Every interaction is generally going to be a face-to-face meeting, voice or video call, or written communication. Different kinds of conversations will naturally fit better than the other, so it’s essential to choose the right one for the right circumstance.
If you’ve forgotten what face-to-face communication is after a year of working at home – it’s like a video call, but in real life. Some examples of face-to-face communication are company meetings, company fun-days, one-on-one meetings, and team meetings.
While this type of communication isn’t used as much with the advent of digital tools, there are still times when it’s important to gather. In fact, meeting together with your team can often make digital communication flow easier as people will have built a rapport with each other, streamlining projects in the future.
In company meetings, senior management can share a vision for the organization that can then be brought back to remote work in the future.
Another type of face-to-face communication is company parties and fun-days. These types of events might seem informal, but it’s always best to keep your guard up on what you say and how you act.
When having one-on-one meetings with people in face-to-face environments, you’ll be able to read body language and watch facial cues that you normally might miss outside of meeting in person.
For team meetings, it can be easier to stay focused reading the facial expressions of those around. If you’re the person speaking, then it can be easier to “read the room” as you talk to see if people are agreeing or disagreeing with what you’re saying.
All of these types of in-person meetings are a form of synchronous communication – meaning the other people in your group (or meeting) are talking and responding to each other in real-time.
Voice and Video Calls
Voice and video calls are a popular form of communication for remote teams as they provide a way to collaborate on work projects without being in the same room. Depending on the tool being used, they could be considered either synchronous or asynchronous.
Voice calls used to be the bedrock of our communication in the workplace. It can be a form of asynchronous chat if you leave a voice message when the person is unavailable, but it can also be synchronous if you talk in real-time.
Video calls are primarily a synchronous communication style as most video communication platforms don’t allow you to leave video messages if the person isn’t there. Most video calls are pre-scheduled, even if by just a few minutes. You generally have to invite someone to a video call unless they are expecting the invitation ahead of time. Where you might call someone unexpectedly, you generally don’t invite someone to a video call without prior knowledge. Because of the intimacy that video brings, it just feels different than a phone call.
Video calls in the workplace are helpful for team members, project recaps, virtual “fun” events, and a lot more. Because it allows you to see everyone else on the call, it humanizes relationships at work instead of everyone on your team just appearing as an avatar.
Voice calls are another type of workplace communication. For remote teams, they might not be used as much as in-office teams. In-office teams will use it to ask questions rather than walking over to someone’s desk. Remote teams will rely on asynchronous communication tools like Spike and leverage video calls when synchronous communication is needed.
One aspect of work-life that will rely solely on voice calls is when you or a team member is traveling. When you’re trying to connect with members of your team when on the go, you’ll be way more likely to place a phone call than you are to join a video call with them.
Written communication will make up the majority of your work in modern society. The speed at which we can communicate over email and other messaging platforms is lightning fast compared to anything else available. The majority of written communication will be asynchronous, meaning that you’ll send a message and not receive a response for a certain time period (hours, days, etc.).
The types of written communication that are most commonly used in the workplace are email, dedicated chat tools (Teams, Slack, etc.), and then tools that have a chat functionality as a side feature in tools such as Monday.com and Trello.
Spike Can Help You Deliver Every Type of Message
One of the problems with having multiple types of communication platforms is that it can be confusing to continually switch between tools for video, email, and other types of written communication. Spike combines all of your communications – both written and face-to-face – into a single digital workspace.
With Spike, your team can easily switch between video, chat, and email. Spike is a fully-featured email client but looks and acts like a chat tool, so it can move with extreme speed when processing your Inbox from emails with clients and colleagues.
If your toolkit includes tools like Zoom, Gmail, Slack, and Monday.com, you’ll have to continually search for what information while bouncing between apps. By unifying your team’s toolkit into Spike, you get video calls, audio calls, email, chat, Tasks/To-dos all in a single place.
Regardless if your team is in the office or remote (or a hybrid), Spike’s digital workspace is everything your business needs for communication and collaboration. Because it’s email, it works excellent internally and externally with your clients and vendors. Email communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated with the right solution.
Download Spike to find out why over 100,000 teams have switched.