Your productivity during the workday can shift dramatically depending on several factors. Your energy levels, ability to adapt to new or stressful situations and immediate environment play key roles in how you are able to work.
During the last year especially, we have all been allowed a little space to see how working in various environments can affect our own productivity. We have all been adjusting as best we can.
One of the biggest factors in your success during your workday is in your ability to effectively communicate with coworkers. Learning communication boundaries and preferences early on in a working relationship builds a foundation for success. In fact, recent research supports the fact that effective communication can improve workplace productivity by as much as 25%. Here’s why.
Communication builds trust.
Communication can make a world of difference in the workplace, whether you’re sharing a space with your colleagues or connecting across oceans. Sharing stories, thoughts, and ideas implicates trust between people, which in turn will allow everyone involved to feel more comfortable with each other. It also fosters a sense of inclusion, which can be paramount especially for people with diverse backgrounds. When employees feel connected with their co-workers, it can be easier to work together on projects instead of going it alone in so many circumstances.
Communication is key to networking.
Networking doesn’t just happen at networking cocktails or happy hours. Often, networking can — and should — exist in your immediate workspace. According to Oxford, networking is “the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.”
While you may already know Rachel from the corner desk, you may not know her working strengths if she isn’t in your immediate department. Through talking to her, you may find out that her uncle works for a company you have always wanted as a client, her mother makes an incredible pie that you want to source for your next family get-together, or she may have people in her social circle who would be perfect for your next article.
The point is, you never know what knowledge or connections the people who work alongside you every day have if you never talk to them. And if you aren’t one to suffer through the small talk of networking events as often as others, casual discourse in the office can move mountains for both your career and personal life.
Someone you know may have your answer.
Just because you don’t have an answer to something, doesn’t mean that no one does. IDC data shows that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information.”
Being part of a team means you can rely on others to help you through issues you may not have answers to, so feel free to use your colleagues as sounding boards. In fact, there is a really good chance that you work with some very smart people, and that some of them may have been in your industry for a length of time or received education that can help you solve your query. While Google is one of the best resources for answers to your questions, knowing the strengths and knowledge of your coworkers can be illuminating in your search for an answer.
Whether you’re simply bouncing ideas off of each other in a Zoom call or Google chat, or trying to find the answer to something you have been stuck on for weeks, shooting a message to Terri or knowing that Geoff has intricate knowledge of the backend of the company’s website could cut down on extensive research. Instead, use that valuable time to accomplish the tasks in your wheelhouse.
Communication hinges on active listening.
Our biggest takeaway from recent research? Communication is not a one-way street. Communicating AT someone is very different than communicating WITH them, so be sure you aren’t approaching a situation with a closed mind. Many work environments require you to adapt and learn with the circumstances presented, and you want to enter all communication with that in mind. Because of this, we highly suggest an active listening approach.
When the option is available, face the person communicating with you and give your undivided attention to them. Whether in the boardroom or over a Zoom call, this body language translates similarly and is very important. When you are dialed into a call or available via audio-only, make sure to respond to concerns, acknowledge statements, and take notes when applicable to come back to points you may otherwise forget about while engaged with the speaker. If you’re approaching an email conversation, acknowledge and appreciate their idea and build off of it so that the person you’re chatting with knows their voice was heard as well.
Small, polite adjustments in the way you work with people can move mountains for your workflow. Ensuring that all of your devices, technology and storage are synced up and communicating effectively can also make things a lot easier and cut down on wasted hours at your desk.
Here are some nifty Google shortcuts to help aid your workflow, and our no-nonsense guide to communication in the workplace. Have at it, and increase your downtime almost immediately.