In the workplace, great communication is paramount to efficiency, positive relationships, and ultimately, the overall success of the company. Fortunately, excellent communication is readily achievable with the right strategies, systems, and technologies in place.
Technology plays a significant role in workplace communication. From the days when fax machines were commonplace up to now, it has been a powerful tool in helping ensure seamless, efficient, and low-cost communication within the organization. And while technology comes with a cost, it certainly does not have to be expensive.
That said, here are some of the best low-cost tech solutions that can help improve communication in the workplace:
PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a business telephone system that allows organizations to communicate internally and externally. A typical PBX system offers features like call routing, voicemail, and conferencing, among others. Recently, using a hybrid PBX has become the norm for many companies. Hybrid systems combine traditional business telephone systems with modern IP technology, providing a wider range of call management features and security.
Using a PBX is inherently more cost-effective than sticking to a traditional phone line; call utility costs are lower, the hardware is more energy-efficient, and long-distance calls are often free. With all these features and benefits in mind, switching to a PBX system is one of the best and most affordable ways to enhance internal and external communication in the workplace.
Video web conferencing
Platforms like Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom offer free web conferencing services that allow companies to hold virtual meetings, webinars, and other online events. Using this type of service often comes with no cost for events with a limited number of attendants, although, recently, some platforms have limited free meetings to only one hour.
While the one-hour time limit may serve as a mild inconvenience, the use of these video web conferencing platforms remains free. Even if a business were to start paying for premium features, the cost of a premium account is relatively low, starting at $4.20 per user on Google Meet.
Work messaging platforms
Instant messaging applications like Slack, Discord, and Skype are free to use, allowing employees to seamlessly communicate with clients and each other at no cost. However, just like video conferencing platforms, organizations would have to pay for premium features. Oftentimes, these premium features include the general channel functionality, full message history, group video calls, and higher-end security, among others.
An instant messaging platform is the norm of workplace communication nowadays. Functioning like a social media chat app, it allows employees to communicate and collaborate as efficiently as possible—especially when leveraging premium features.
Email management tools
There was a time when email was the main mode of communication in the workplace. But today, it is no longer the most efficient way to communicate, what with all the spam and countless email threads that tend to clutter employee inboxes. However, this doesn’t mean that companies should stop using emails as a secondary mode of communication.
With an email management tool, it is easier for employees to filter messages, get rid of unnecessary emails, prioritize messages, and organize threads more efficiently. There are many email management platforms to choose from, such as SalesHandy, SaneBox, EmailAnalytics, and FrontApp, to name a few examples. While these tools have differences, their common denominator is the goal to make email communication more efficient, organized, and secure.
Virtual bulletin boards
Current communication technologies in the workplace allow for speedy messaging. Still, there is one caveat to this: oftentimes, messages go by so fast that some employees have a hard time catching up, much less see important announcements that end up buried under succeeding messages.
A virtual bulletin board is the best answer to this communication problem. Just like a traditional bulletin board, a virtual version allows the management to post announcements, alerts, and important memos all in one place. This makes it easier for everyone to stay in the loop without having to scroll up to previous messages in the work chat, ensuring that no one misses important bits of information because they were doing other work. In contrast, the announcement is being made on the main communication app.
As can see, improving workplace communication does not require a hefty investment. While some of these technologies are not free to use for businesses, the cost of premium features is often relatively low compared to building an internal communication platform for the workplace—a small price to pay for more seamless, efficient, and productive communication.