How Can Communication Affect the Flow of Work in an Organization?


Effective communication is the life blood of any successful organization. It creates a productive and efficient environment. If employees understand each other well, that improves office morale, retention rate, and overall productivity. Without it, companies will not be able to succeed and may even cease to function.

Streamlining and improving communication should be a high priority for any business. There are many ways communication within an organization can influence the work being done, and by creating a better understanding of communication, organizations can use that effect to their advantage.


1. Workplace Communication Statistics

HR Magazine surveyed 4,000 professionals about communications in the workplace. They found that 46% of the participants regularly receive directions that are vague or confusing, 36% of participants said that this happens up to 3 times a day. On average, an estimated 40 minutes of productivity are wasted per day due to unclear directions. 

Basex Inc. found that 28% of the average employee’s day is spent dealing with interruptions, which winds up costing U.S. businesses upwards of $900 billion annually.

The Computing Technology Industry Association conducted a study that found out that, out of 1,000 professionals, 28% indicated that poor communication was the cause of projects not being completed on time.

Want to avoid those issues? Understanding, and effectively utilizing, communication in the workplace will help.

2. Communication Types

Face-to-face communication is the most effective type of communication, as it allows for the clear exchange of messages and ideas. Instead of directly entering your room in the mornings, make sure to chat with your employees face-to-face, discuss their problems, give them advice, feedback and clear instructions.

One of the ways to improve communication is for employees to read the company newsletter. This document should list all the achievements during the week/month and show how much the company values the dedication and motivation of its workers.

Organizations should incorporative a company intranet. It’s a great way to stay connected with their employees. An intranet may create two-sided communication between the managers and employees. Make sure to share some questions, interesting tips, planned marketing campaigns, videos, designs and other important and useful information to improve employee engagement.

Communication can also be done with written notes, phone calls, emails, and text messages, but more and more organizations utilize social media and blogs to communicate with employees and customers. Organizations should utilize multiple means of communication in order to be more resourceful and effective.

Nonverbal communication is just as effective as verbal communication. Body language can show the real thoughts and attitudes of coworkers, despite what they might be saying.

Seeing coworkers slumped and not watching a presentation can make the presenter feel that their work is unappreciated and inadequate. Although, if everyone is sitting straight, paying attention, and/or making eye contact, then the presenter can feel accomplished.   

It is also important to communicate with customers and receive their feedback. Many organizations will utilize social media, comment cards, and satisfaction surveys for this purpose. This enables a business to easier understand and meet customers’ wants and needs.

So, next time you prepare for a meeting with your team, make sure you do everything to enhance clear and effective communication with them. When everyone understands what you’re trying to say, you will see that your work processes become smoother and your business becomes more productive.


3. Communication Flow

There are 5 main types of communication flow within an organization: downward, upward, lateral, diagonal, and external.

Downward Communication

This type flows down from the upper levels of a business to the lower levels. It transmits work-related information to lower level employees, which helps them to meet expectations. 

Managers can use this communication to give feedback on an employee’s performance, relay instructions, provide understanding for an employee’s role in the organization, and communicating the organization’s mission and vision.

To be effective it is essential to have a clear objective, ensure the message is unambiguous, specific and accurate, and make sure that the communication technique being used is the one that is best fit to relay the message.

When practiced effectively employees can maintain a clear direction for what they are doing and have a complete understanding of the role that they play, which will increase productivity and limit frustrations. 

Upward Communication

This communication type comes from the lower levels of an organization to the upper levels, which helps to relay the effectiveness of directions and allows employees to convey their grievances, opinions and ideas. Managers can use this to work out any issues and keep the company office a pleasant place to work. 

This communication can be facilitated through the Grievance Redressal System, Complaint/Suggestion Box, and face-to-face conversations. It can create more loyal and committed employees because they feel like they can take some ownership and have a voice within the organization.

Lateral Communication

This type of communication takes place at the same level of hierarchy within an organization, and is used to save time, facilitate coordination of tasks, facilitate cooperation among employees, solve problems within the organization, share information and resolve conflicts.

This can create camaraderie and build rapport with coworkers. Many times, this flow of communication brings coworkers closer because it provides them with emotional and social assistance for the office.

Diagonal Communication

This type is when a manager works with employees from another department or work group. Effective diagonal communication leads to uniformity across an organization and helps prevent any misunderstandings in the projects that are being undertaken.

External Communication

The type is between a manager and an external group such as vendors, suppliers, banks, etc. It ensures that the organization has all that it needs to be able to function properly.

4. Improving Communication

For a business to be successful, it is essential that all its members develop their communication skills. When an organization doesn’t have effective communication, it can cause problems. Vague communication leads to misunderstandings, while excessive communication can cause confusion and loss of concentration.

Listening is extremely important. Communication is more than just relaying messages and ideas; it’s also being able to listen to others so that you may understand them better. By listening first, you will gain a better understanding and be able to identify the most effective way to communicate. Listening also allows for you to find answers to things with which you may be unsure and allows you to ask questions before it is too late.

It is crucial that all messages are accurate and coherent. Leaving out details can have an impact on the quality of the work that is being done. It can leave employees unable to complete their work and lead to worker frustration. By making sure the message is fit to reach your audience it makes it easier to understand and will increase both productivity and efficiency.

Communication is essential to any organization that wants to succeed. The more exact and clear directions are, the faster, happier, and less stressed their employees tend to be.

When looking for ways to improve your business practices, ensuring streamlined communication should be at the top of the list. Effective communication practices tend to foster organizations that are better equipped for success by being more efficient, having satisfied employees and, just as importantly, satisfied customers.