COVID-19 changed not only the location with individuals across the world work, but also how they communicate at work.
Overnight, employees went from meeting in-person and chatting to their colleagues by the water cooler or the coffee machine, to communicating exclusively online with the help of email, instant messenger apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack, or on video calls.
Now this digital communication has become the norm for millions across the world.
87% told Loom that digital communication at work has improved their job – this is because it allows them to flexibly plan their day (57%), it makes them feel more comfortable in participating in conversations (34%) and helps them to build relationships with coworkers they have never met in person.
40% say it helps them to communicate better when people’s schedules don’t align, while 58% said it helped them show more of their personality at work, which in turn drives motivation and productivity.
Workplace communication is not all rosy
Despite this positive outlook, Loom’s study also found that US and UK employees are frustrated by digital communications tools, particularly old school ones like emails and phone calls.
A major issue is that employees are struggling to effectively communicate online – 91% said they have been misunderstood or misinterpreted at work, and 20% noted they were told off, demoted or fired as a result of miscommunication.
As a result, workplace communication is stressing employees out – 47% are wasting time thinking about potential misunderstandings in their messages, and this is costing US businesses $128 billion annually. 62% admitted that miscommunication is affecting their mental health.
Meetings are a particular big stressor, as well as a time waster. The issues are that software doesn’t always work well, there are issues with the quality of audio and video, and it is not a very personal experience.
98% of the 3,000 workers surveyed said they were stressed out by video communication, and Loom found employees are also wasting 1 hour 42 minutes every week scheduling and rescheduling meetings, which is costing US organizations $1.85 billion a week.
It seems that employees want more asynchronous video calls – 32% said the majority of their digital meetings could be replaced with recordings that can be watched back later, and 36% said recorded meetings was the best side of remote work.
This data suggests that digital communication needs to continue to adapt to suit evolving employee needs and preferences.
Loom’s co-founder and CEO Joe Thomas notes: “It’s so important not to forget humanity when communicating via digital channels in hybrid workplaces.
“Not only for reasons of nurturing company culture, but also for employee retention as hybrid workplaces become optimized for individual working styles and preferences.”
Loom’s report concluded: “The most successful companies will be the ones that adapt to new modes of communication and connection.
“Managers will need to be open to experimentation with how their team members collaborate and consider what tools will best meet the needs of their organization.”