Business communication is evolving. As a generation of polychronic Digital Natives enters the workforce, we’re coming face-to-face with a wave of change that can’t be ignored. Below are three Productivity Hacks within Microsoft Office 365 that can help you keep up.
1. Stop Using Email for Everything!
If you’ve ever responded “Thanks” or “Great Job” to an internal email distribution list, I’m talking to you. Your team spirit is great and we love it! But email is not the best place for this. And the drain on productivity reaches far beyond the 25 people who now have a two-word email they need to delete, archive, or file.
If you didn’t yet have an email address in college, you’re likely a Digital Immigrant, and you’re probably great at managing the hundreds of email messages that bombard you at work every day. This phenomenon has turned a generation of educated professionals into administrative workers who spend valuable time organizing personal digital file cabinets.
Why is this unproductive? Here’s an example: If you’re trying to make a decision by email and you have 10 people on an email thread, each person needs to make a decision around what to do with each email. This is incredibly unproductive. And if you’re thinking, “but it only takes a few minutes…” consider the amount of time multiplied by the number of people involved, and it quickly becomes hours of time, often at expensive executive levels. Furthermore, when employees leave a company, those emails are usually lost to archiving and deletion.
It’s really very simple: Stop sending internal email. Most millennials eschew email, regarding it as a necessary evil at work. Join me to experience a virtual environment in an office setting where having no internal email is entirely possible.
2. Use Your Face
Millennials often have entire conversations around ONLY nonverbal communication — a series of photos or emojis conveying facial expressions. We have technologies that allow us to work across time zones and geographical borders, but many web-based internal meetings involve voice only and maybe a PowerPoint presentation. These meetings almost entirely disregard nonverbal communication. If you are a remote worker and you’re not using facial expression and body language in your daily business communication, you’re behind the times.
For remote employees and meetings involving multiple locations, TURN ON YOUR WEBCAM. Microsoft Teams creates an environment of face-to-face communication that makes geography irrelevant. Nonverbal communication in social interaction helps improve understanding. And this deep level of connection simply can’t be communicated through voice alone.
3. Death by PowerPoint
PowerPoint presentations are widely used in business for everything from complex financial plans to training documentation. It’s a fantastic tool that most people know how to use, but many times it’s not the best tool for the job. A Powerpoint presentation is a static piece of content. Once a user attaches a PowerPoint to an email and sends it off, it’s gone. There’s no way to update or share it again without sending yet another email (see #1 above). Most millennials are expert at linking content that can be adapted or changed as the need dictates, and Office 365 has a multitude of ways to communicate content without using PowerPoint presentations.
Create your presentation or documentation where viewers can find it through search or access it via link. This ensures the material can be presented, edited, linked, and searched by all internal employees. And the content won’t die with an employee’s inbox when she leaves the company. #NOLINKNOLOVE