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Missed the Memo?

No matter how big or small your company is, it can be easy to misunderstand, misinterpret, or just plain miss an important piece of information. We all know how many emails we have to deal with in a day, yet we still expect an instantaneous response when sending an email. Ironic. While it may seem impossible to keep up with the continual flow of emails, there are ways to make the constant communication less stressful.

Teamwork

It takes teamwork to make sure a company is running smoothly. If one department is falling behind, it will affect every other department they work with, eventually reaching each department in the company. Project managers can help by responding to communication for his or her department, but if the project manager misses the memo, the whole department is losing out on the information.

Instead, try an online project management program like Basecamp or Teamwork. These programs allow you to create a separate project for each client. Within each project, you have an overview of the project, tasks, milestones, messages, files, time, and links. This allows each employee to have access to all communication, files, timelines and completed time for each project. These programs can eliminate the need for project managers and allow clients to speak directly with the correct person, whether it's the designer, developer, content editor, etc. There are also smartphone apps for these projects, allowing employees to have access to everything while on the go.

One of the best things about Teamwork specifically is the task lists. Every employee's assigned tasks are broken down into three lists, Late Tasks, Today's Tasks, and Upcoming Tasks. The personalized task lists are clearly shown at the top of each employee's Teamwork dashboard. The task shows which client and project the task is for, when it is due, how much time has already been logged on the task, and any comments about the task. If you need a coworker to complete part of a project, just assign them a task. It will show up in their task list with a deadline and any comments you have for them. The tasks all end up in the designated task list, so there is no possibility of losing the request in an unorganized email inbox.

Close the Loop

While this saying is cheesy, it has a solid meaning. If someone sends you an email, reply to it. Even if it is just to confirm you received the message. If you don't reply, you aren't closing the communication "loop" the other person started, and that can lead to miscommunication.

It can be hard to reply to every email that pops up in your inbox. As of November 2014, the average number of emails sent and received per day was 121 emails. (1) That is almost 14 emails per hour for a nine hour work day, on top of the work you have to do for each email. To avoid missing any emails, respond to each email right away. The message can be a simple "I am working on this right now" so the sender knows you are aware of the email. Then, make a checklist of all the emails you have to respond to before the end of the day. Checking off the names one at a time will give you a sense of accomplishment, while keeping an organized list of everyone you have to respond to. This list will help to stay organized, instead of going through your email inbox and possibly overlooking an important email. (2)

Article 1: The Radicati Group, Inc.

Article 2: 8 Ways to Improve Your Communication Right Now