How To Improve Communication At Work

Written by:
Collin Waldoch
Posted:
August 11, 2020

The strength of internal communication in your workplace can directly impact employee productivity. When everyone is on the same page, team members have the confidence needed to complete their work. If you can get each of your team members to work in harmony as one cohesive unit, this will boost the overall effectiveness of your team.

Faulty internal communication can cause significant cracks in your team’s performance. This is especially true if your team is newly remote or distributed without the “glue” of in-person communication.

In this article, we’ll quickly explore how to improve communication at work. There’s a wide range of tactics to foster team togetherness and bolster cross-team relationships. At Water Cooler Trivia, we’re on a mission to help businesses of all shapes and sizes bring fun communication and bonding into the workplace to build positive working environments. And we know that when teams are working remote, especially for the first time, there are loads of new challenges (especially communication).

In a rush or already bored by my writing style? No sweat, skip the article and check out these four bullet points on how to improve communication at work:

  • Use Water Cooler Trivia and other ice-breaker games to build team relationships.
  • Encourage team leaders to have regular meetings with colleagues.
  • Organize social gatherings and other events to promote cross-team interaction.
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of individuals on the team.

Ice Breaker Games

The key to improving team communication is making employees comfortable. Ice broken = lower barriers to relationship-building = easier team communication.

We wish we had a brainy partner when we were submitting our weekly trivia responses.

There are many ice breaker games that help achieve this - but in our biased opinion Water Cooler Trivia is the best of the bunch. It’s a weekly trivia contest that will engage your team by sparking new, non-work-related conversations. Using our super-simple platform, you choose a few settings and we build customizable trivia quizzes for your team. These are sent to team members weekly at a schedule of your choosing. Results are released and the fun-sparked conversations begin.

Regular Meetings With Team Leaders

You should try and encourage team leaders from across your organization to regularly hold one-on-one meetings with colleagues. This allows employees to ask questions and raise concerns. Setting up these meetings periodically ensures leaders maintain a consistent line of dialogue with team members.

It's been a while since we had an in-person 1:1 meeting...

Team leaders should approach these meetings as a transparent, empathetic listener while discussing recent projects or ongoing work. Skip the performance review components and use these meetings for building rapport, strengthening relationships, and promoting a supportive workplace.

Organize Social Gatherings

You don’t want to do them *too* frequently (or they’ll feel like a chore), but if your team is lacking a sense of togetherness, why not organize some social gatherings to bring everyone closer? The key is that social gatherings create an opportunity for team members to strike conversations with one another. We recommend a “no work-related conversations” for at least a portion of the event; it gives team members the chance to learn more about each other and build relationships.

We know that these ducks aren't working in the traditional sense. But it looks like a team outing to us.

Also, we get it -- “social gatherings” is a super generic term. But we don’t want to be too prescriptive. Choose from coffee breaks, book clubs, day trips, or even charity events. If your team shares a particular hobby or interest, pursue that as the basis of the social gathering. In a past life, when I worked in the transportation industry, my team went to the Subway Museum in NYC each year to check out how our team’s mission fit into the broader landscape of how people get around.

Clarify Roles & Responsibilities

Miscommunication is both painful and common. It happens when there’s a lack of understanding around team member roles and responsibilities. Confusion around roles and responsibilities can lead to overlooked tasks and fire-drill projects. Things get messy. Next thing you know, the office resembles The Hunger Games arena. Just kidding. That would be several steps too far. But the general point stands; when roles aren’t clear, it’s a hotbed for miscommunication opportunities.

No need to be as organized as this workbench, but some sense of structure and roadmap is critical.

When you begin a new project, make sure each team member knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Throughout the project, the team leader should be open and ready to answer any questions that team members may have about the project. You want to create a supportive work environment where everyone feels comfortable with asking questions.

Final Thoughts

These were just some stream-of-consciousness thoughts to improve team communication and thus increase productivity in your workplace. The best bet? Our super-biased recommendation for weekly trivia quizzes to spark conversation. We know they rule because I’m one of the question writers for our database of 5,000+ trivia questions. Get started with Water Cooler Trivia today!