There are many ways to communicate nowadays, from email to texting to messaging on social media platforms and in the workplace those communication preferences can vary by generation. Most workplaces have many different generations working together.
There are those who didn't use computers until they were well into their professional careers, and there are those in Generation X that started using computers later in school. Then you have Millennials who don't remember a time without computers or cell phones.
Even within a generation, the preferences vary. One person may feel completely comfortable texting any time of day or night about work. Another may feel more comfortable calling people. While someone else may think nothing about sending an email with many people carbon-copied on it.
The problem is, when we don't openly discuss our preferences, we may alienate those we work with. It's not to say that disclosing our own preferences will mean everyone has to accommodate our wishes. But if we don't talk about our different styles of communication, we won't know where the pitfalls are. After all, there's no one right way to communicate.
I prefer not to text about work. I'd rather have an in-person conversation, a phone call, or an email, which feels easiest for me. Although there are times when a live conversation is more effective.
Whatever you do, don't assume. You may even want to talk to your team at work about what the communication guidelines will be in your group. What does each person prefer? Is it okay to text or email at night or on the weekends? When is it appropriate and when should things wait? Are there times when a meeting is more effective, or is the efficiency of email the way to go?
The same thought process should be applied to job interviews. If you're hiring for a company, be aware that job seekers may not want to be texted or called with no notice. If you're the candidate, rely on more traditional communication methods. Don't assume the company is okay with a text. Only call if the recruiter or hiring manager has given you their contact information.
Whether it’s texting, calling or emailing, a line of communication should be opened so that everyone in the workplace can work together successfully.
— Angela Copeland is a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching. She can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.