Whether it is through instant messaging, a phone call, email chains, video conferencing or a text messages, technology enabled, real-time communication has both its pros and its cons. In today's workplace we're able to take advantage of these capabilities to make communicating with coworkers and clients easier. Improvements in technology has also enabled the rise of remote freelance jobs. As a result of this digital transformation, in-person conversation has become the last resort when it comes to professional communication. Given the prevalence and convenience of digital communication, we are faced with the question: should freelancers stick with real-time communication or shift in favor of message-based platforms. Here at 24 Seven we work with freelance marketers and creative clients daily, and we have put together everything we have learned about the pros and cons of real-time communication. With this information, you can make the right decision when choosing your means of communication.
Real-time communication has its benefits
Many marketers and business professionals will always choose real-time zoom meetings over instant messaging, and there a lot of good reasons for doing so. Here are the most important advantages of real-time communication:
Face-to-face conversation allows for increased adaptivity and emotional interpretation
Get your answer as soon as you ask the question
Read the room and learn how your peers feel through non-verbal cues
Retain personality-sharing and team-building elements of group conversation
The Convenience of Instant Messaging In The Workplace
It is extremely common in today’s culture for companies to provide instant messaging platforms for easy communication between employees, especially when there are multiple office locations, or part of the team works from home. IM options allow for quick check-ins on colleagues rather than having to clog their inbox or seek them out in person and get stuck catching up for what may seem like hours. Platforms such as slack have streamlined project management, making files easily accessible for flex schedule employees and freelancers.
Communicate on your terms and on your own time (ideal for traveling/remote marketers)
Craft your messages to say exactly what you mean
Translation technology such as Microsoft’s Cortana allows for more international communication
Share documents, images, and files in the midst of a conversation
Keep a record of every conversation with IM transcripts
Future Of Communication In The Workplace
When asked in an interview with Forbes what the future has in store for communication in the workplace, Anna Pickard, the Creative Director, Voice and Tone at Slack said “We’ve gotten used to having a tool for everything, but that means a lot of context switching and wasting time trying to remember what you were doing before you leapt from here to there to do the last thing you did before the next thing you really had to do — finding ways to better organize those tools, to bring them together and help automate some of them, that’s what we’re working on now — everyone building communication tools is grappling with this”. With the help of technology, we can communicate with colleagues pretty much wherever we go, whether it is work from home, at lunch, or on the train on your commute. Even if you’re the last person into the office or working on a mixed location team you are still able to know what’s going on with the team by checking your phone or laptop before heading in.
Streamlining Professional Communication Across Languages
For Microsoft, their chat-based tool, Teams, allows collaborators to do all their work in real time across Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and communicate via Skype. According to a Forbes article, “Microsoft is also introducing in-line message translation to streamline communication between people who speak different languages, Cortana voice interaction (so users can make calls, join meetings, etc. within Teams using spoken language), background blur for video calls, proximity detection for adding nearby Skype Room Systems to meetings, and the ability to share content in meetings via mobile devices.” Not only would this added feature help with language barriers in different countries and bilingual employees but would also open up the talent pool for various freelance positions. With real-time communications, and the number of options that we currently have, it is easy and feasible to communicate across time changes, schedule conference calls, video conferences, and more with the click of a few buttons.
It is no argument that technology can help us communicate daily, but in-person communication is still preferred and essential at least some of the time. Both means of communication have their clear advantages and disadvantages, but it is up to you to push for your preferred mode of communication while doing freelance jobs. Want to optimize your effectiveness in the remote workplace? Check out this article!