Communication Tools in the Workplace

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Communication Tools in the Workplace - Negative Impacts

Today's workplace culture is dominated by a variety of innovative communication tools. While intended to improve company-wide communication, the impact of this silent chatter can actually be quite negative in terms of employee productivity and morale. Employees complain that verbal communication is being replaced, and in some cases, eliminated. In order to respond to all of the nonverbal "noise," they must learn how to navigate numerous communication platforms. Employee computer and phone screens are overflowing with distracting apps, and there is no escape from the "noise" because the apps are on 24 hours per day. Workers indicate that inevitably, important information is lost among the barrage of communication that bombards them each day. Finally, such excessive communication draws colleagues into discussions and teams, often when their input is either unnecessary or not warranted.

Verbal Communication has been Replaced by Excessive Silent Communication

Employees are Overwhelmed by the Learning Curve

  • Although instant messaging is a common source of communication "noise" in the workplace, only 12% of baby boomers use it, as compared to 31% of millennials. Industry experts attribute this to the reluctance of baby boomers to learn how to use this type of technology. This discrepancy in employee usage reveals the potential for older employees to miss important information. There is also a risk of a divisive culture emerging between older and younger workers.
  • With so many communication methods being utilized in the workplace, employees are frustrated by having to decipher which tool should be used for which situations. In fact, 56% of employees find the process disruptive. They also worry that If they focus on one methodology, they will inevitably miss information from another.
  • The results of one survey reveal that more than 50% of workers are overwhelmed by having to use multiple communication platforms, with some admitting they are ready to quit due to the stress caused by it.

Employees have Overloaded Screens

Employees Cannot Turn off the Noise

Loss of Important Messages and Information

  • Employees also report that so much communication is launched at them that they cannot decipher important information from what is truly superfluous.

Forced Teamwork Decreases Productivity

Research Strategy

In order to conduct this research, we relied heavily on the data obtained from several national surveys involving 1000s of employees in the United States. We confirmed that these surveys were all conducted within the last five years. We also reviewed numerous organizational psychology articles, industry blogs and commerce websites. In analyzing the information we secured from these various sources, we were able to determine the most commonly cited negative impacts of multiple communication tools on employees and company culture.


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