We’ve all done our best to settle into the current reality of pandemic life. By the time this article is published, we may be on the other side of self-quarantines or we may have found ourselves right back in the thick of it. Regardless of what life throws at us next, we’ve all had to find new ways to communicate with both our team and customers. I’d like to take this opportunity to recap some of the tech tools my team has added or reworked within our toolbox and those we serve.
Good, old faithful email… It’s where e-communication began, and it’s at the heart of business communication everywhere. As we’ve moved to a more isolated workplace, we’ve seen email’s value continue to shine, but there are places it’s not a good fit. Here are a couple areas we’ve seen email take a beating:
- File Exchange: Email has always been convenient for sending files back and forth, but it’s never been ideal. Original documents get lost, large attachments delay delivery or don’t make it through, and sensitive information can easily be siphoned off by casual hackers. We and our clients have had to look to other tools such as Google Docs and OneDrive to share documents back and forth.
- Group Communication: We’ve all been on an email thread that went berserk. What started off as a dissemination of information has been replied-all too far too many times, lost its focus, and turned into a free for all. Email certainly still has a place in group communication, but the season we are in has been a good reminder that not everyone needs to be in every conversation and has driven many we know to online portals and management systems.
Instant messaging is another tool that’s been around for decades. What originated as fun apps allowing you to chat with your friends has morphed into platforms that can integrate with software tools and systems to keep your team well-connected. In our own office, we use a product called Slack, which allows us to have one-on-one conversations or create “channels” to discuss particular projects and topics. We’ve even linked some of our alerting systems to Slack so that alerts come there rather than piling up in our inboxes.
There are a number of instant messaging tools available, and the choice may be dependent upon other systems you use. Whether it’s Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or something proprietary to your own operations, secure instant messaging has taken on a new level of importance in business communication.
Email and Messaging are just a few of the tools that have become even more vital to intra-team communication than ever before. The water cooler has moved to the “random” channel in Slack and email inboxes need to be more carefully managed than ever before. Next month we’ll dive into some more communication and collaboration tools that have blown up this year and see how they can work for your operation.
Written by Chet Cromer for publication in the Business Leader