There are some things you never want to see in your inbox—a reprimand from your boss, for one—while at other times, email is the only effective way to communicate.
As it turns out, there’s a science to using email effectively in the workplace and knowing when to unplug and meet face-to-face—one that can impact an organization’s bottom line. According to an article in the Journal of Business Communication (JBC), in today’s workforce “the effective use of electronic communication to augment face-to-face communication and the knowledge management that goes with it may actually be the key to success.”
Virginia W. Kupritz and Eva Cowell, both of the University of Tennessee, published “Productive Management Communication: Online and Face-to-Face” in the January 2011 issue of JBC. To see the latest articles from the journal, click here.
This case study examined employees’ perceptions about the types of information management could productively communicate through electronic communication to augment face-to-face contact with employees. The benefits of effective face-to-face communication between managers and staff are widely appreciated; however, the costs associated with this mode of communication require organizations to make decisions about when scarce resources should be allocated for face-to-face communication and when the alternative, less costly resource of electronic communication could be substituted. The study determined that employees perceived human resource information that is private (confidential), personal, or sensitive as critical to receive through face-to-face contact. Employees perceived that information not deemed confidential—meeting times, training times, policy changes, system problems, and information with numerous details—were just as productive and some even critical to receive through e-mail.