Especially when it comes to supporting remote workers, effective communication is crucial. Leadership needs to keep their employees in the loop, and colleagues need to collaborate seamlessly. But it’s also possible for there to be too much of a good thing.
Per research carried out by Frontapp, 50% of employees currently receive more than 20 emails a week, and 32% feel there’s too much correspondence. Even before the pandemic, Ringcentral notes that 70% of people struggled with too much workplace communication. As you might expect, things have gotten even worse since then.
Most everyone has dealt with a chatty coworker at least once. It is a constant, buzzing distraction that somehow finds you whether you’re in the office or working from home. Generally, these productivity killers come in a few distinct flavors:
- The overly-friendly colleague. The moment you lock eyes, you know your day is shot. They’ll talk your ear off about anything, whether it’s their kids, their weekend, or a project they’ve been working on.
- The gossip. A particularly toxic brand of overcommunicator, rumors are the gossip’s domain. The juicier, the better. They love to hear themselves talk and often relish the idea of spreading tall tales about their coworkers.
- The meeting-obsessed. We all know meetings tend to be notorious time-wasters — but this person didn’t get the memo. Are there minor edits or other concerns that could be addressed in a single email or IM? Better get everyone on a Zoom call.
- The micromanager. They’re never content to leave people to their own devices. Autonomy does not exist in their lexicon, and as a result, they’re constantly checking in on staff.
- The walking Q&A session. Even though this person knows how to do their job, you wouldn’t know it. They’re constantly asking questions about minute details as if they’re terrified to be self-directed.
Maybe you’re looking this list over and thinking that you haven’t met any of the above. If so, we’ve some bad news for you. If you haven’t met an overcommunicator, there’s a good chance you might be one.
Let’s go over a few of the warning signs:
- You respond to emails you’re CC’d on but that don’t directly relate to you.
- You’re constantly sending out reminders about things like due dates and upcoming meetings.
- You repeat yourself—a lot.
- type like this.
- when sending instant messages
- flooding people with notifications in the process.
- You frequently share irrelevant information without considering what your audience needs to know.
- Your colleagues know all about you, but you know relatively little about any of them.
- You never seem to get anything done at meetings that you’ve hosted.
- Nobody ever seems to respond to your messages or emails.
The good news is that addressing all of the above is quite simple. Simply pay more attention to your colleagues/employees. Put yourself in their shoes, and shape your communication accordingly.