Study: ‘Formal’ communication channels improve efficiency, accuracy

Employees might prefer texting or a Slack chat, but that leaves room for costly misinterpretation. New research shows more traditional mediums, such as team meetings, lead to better results.  

Formal communication channels produce better results

Informality has become an essential value in many workplaces.

As offices increasingly become homes for nap pods, office dogs, Ping- Pong tables, Hawaiian shirts and laid-back vibes, communication channels have become less formal, too. Unfortunately, lackadaisical comms could be costing your company dearly.

Quartz reports on a study conducted in Spain that found:

Manufacturing systems that use formal methods of communication, like meetings with set agendas and required participation, are more efficient and have fewer errors than those that rely on emails and phone calls.

Quartz continues:

They [the researchers] found formal communications are more effective in preventing errors because they remove any ambiguity about who is responsible for what. … Having reliable and codified means of communicating them can improve on-time delivery by an average of five to eight percentage points, the authors found.

For anti-agenda meeting loathers, this might seem like bitter news. However, it’s hard to argue against the value of old fashioned, face-to-face communication. There’s less room for error or misunderstandings, and it’s a safer way to ensure precision, accuracy and efficiency. Without the benefit of body language or other nonverbal cues, you could misconstrue key information—and cost your organization big bucks in the process.

Office informality isn’t bad, but mixed messages and careless communications are. Read more about research regarding this topic here.

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