Digital Communication Tools in the Workplace: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

There are many digital communication tools that we can choose from, such as email, mobile phones, desk phones, instant messaging, video conferencing, Twitter – the list goes on. As technology evolves even more, we can be sure that the list will keep changing at lightning speed.

To choose the right communication tool for your needs, you need to identify your task and the communication needed. Your location can also have an impact on your choice, whether you sit at a desk or you are on the move, perhaps in any number of locations when you need to talk.

So, how can you choose the right communication method for your business needs? A wide range of mobile device management solutions and other communication tools is available. We have compiled several tips below that will aid you in deciding which communication tool is right for you. We have also listed several of the key advantages and disadvantages of each of these digital communication types.

Phone Communication: Mobile and Desk (One-to-One Communication)

The Advantages

If you need to have a discussion about ideas or strategies the phone works very well. It provides a personal means of communication and lets you clearly express what you want to stay to ensure that any potential misunderstandings are clarified. It also has the advantage of being able to have a social chat first before getting down to business; this can be a breath of fresh air in today’s pressurized world.

The Disadvantages

When you need a quick resolution, the phone can be a weak means of communication, especially if the person you need is not available and you are put through to their voicemail. You may need a quick answer to a question but poor reception or a noisy background could mean that you do not get what you need. As well as this, unless a phone call is recorded there is no lasting evidence that a conversation took place.

Email Communication

The Advantages

Email is a great means of communication and provides a record of conversations, as well as a means to send files to groups or individuals. Email can also be utilized both at the desk and on the move via a smartphone or iPad. It is likely the most used type of communication within the business world. Perhaps we could even say that it is overused at times.

The Disadvantages

Email seems to be used by everyone, even when there is really is no need to send an email, which can result in inboxes that are far too swamped with unnecessary communication. Also, email is not real-time, even though it can be wrongly assumed to be.

You will get copied in on emails that are not relevant to you, again swamping that inbox! You may also need to wait a significant amount of time to get a response since everyone seems to be flooded by email.
The issue with too many emails has reached a point where today we have automatic filters, like Clutter in Microsoft Outlook, however, then there is the very real risk that an important email will get filtered to the wring inbox.

Instant Messaging Communication

The Advantages

Being able to see colleagues’ presence and availability on instant messaging is useful, especially when you need an immediate response to a question. You can quickly check to see if your colleagues are busy or when they are able to help. For quick questions and answers, instant messaging is an excellent tool.

The Disadvantages

People can have the habit of ignoring the ‘busy’ notice and still send messages that cause a disturbance to the recipient when they are in the middle of a meeting.

Text Message Communication

The Advantages

Great for getting a quick answer when you are on the move. Pretty much everyone cannot resist the temptation to check their phone if their message alert goes off.

The Disadvantages

There is a habit of people forgetting to respond.

Video Conferencing Communication

The Advantages

You can meet virtually to talk with people who are in a different location allowing you to see facial expressions and read reactions.

The Disadvantages

Without the right training, this communication tool can be complicated. As well as this, while millennials are at ease on video others can feel awkward.