Describe the use of electronic communication in the work place. Include different forms of electronic communication as well as advantages and disadvantages.
The use of electronic communication in the work place has become an integral part of the contemporary business environment. Further development of information and communication technologies allows companies to work more efficiently as well as to save time and money. The range of electronic communication means available to organizations expands every day, giving the opportunity to select those that fit the specific requirements of the business. However, it is important to remember that electronic communication is not a perfect solution and it entails certain drawbacks along with its numerous advantages. The paper will further analyze some of the most commonly used electronic communication forms in order to illustrate the opportunities they open for the company as well as the risks associated with their use.
Perhaps the most common form of electronic communication is email. It is used in nearly all organizations, as it is almost free and does not require sophisticated hardware or software solutions. The use of emails in the workplace can significantly improve communication efficiency by giving the opportunity to send messages to several recipients, to attach files and in some cases also to schedule meeting by integrating emails and personal calendars. Furthermore, easy access to emails allows people to work from anywhere, including their home or while travelling. However, email communication also has a number of disadvantages. Firstly, people may use them for non-work purposes, thus wasting time and company resources. Secondly, emails are often not very secure and they make organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks. Therefore, it is of great importance to ensure an appropriate level of email security and email management protocols. Additionally, it is hard to control the final recipients of the email communications, hence some emails may be further forwarded to people, who were not the intended audience. It is also important to keep in mind that even deleted emails can be recovered, therefore improper disposal of emails may increase the risk of information leakage (Ferraro, 2012).
The second type of electronic communication discussed here is electronic meetings. Such meetings are usually conducted through a number of different technologies, such as computers, telephones and video equipment. Moreover, today integrated solutions for the management of electronic meetings are available on the market. The benefits of using electronic meetings are quite apparent. Firstly, the company saves a significant amount of money on travelling. The possibility to include people from different geographical areas and time zones enable higher diversity of the work-groups and facilitates cross-functional and cross-regional collaboration. Furthermore, meeting proceedings and outcomes can be recorded electronically, thus facilitating follow-up activities and increasing information transparency. However, electronic meetings also entail some limitations. Thus, electronic meetings cannot fully replace face-to-face communication and fail to assist in developing trust and team spirit. Therefore, it is very dangerous to use electronic meeting during the teambuilding phase. Moreover, in some cases electronic communication makes it easy to misinterpret the arguments of people in the meeting creating a risk of misunderstanding and even hostility (Lehman & Dufrene, 2011).
It is hardly possible for companies nowadays to avoid using some form of electronic communication in the workplace. Depending on the regional spread, the size and the business of organizations, they may prefer some forms of electronic communication over the others, while the benefits of connecting people through technology make it impossible not to use electronic communication at all. However, it is always important to maintain a balance between efficiency and personal interaction, acknowledging the limitations of technology and selecting the most appropriate solution for a specific business purpose.
Ferraro, E. F. (2012). Investigations in the workplace. (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor &
Lehman, C. M., & Dufrene, D. D. (2011). Business communication. (16th ed.). Mason, OH:
South-Western Cengage Learning.