There are plenty of reasons to communicate about inter-office business in person, rather than sending an email or calling on the phone–especially if the recipient is down the hall or only a floor away. There are also plenty of reasons to stay at your own desk and send a message or make a phone call. Rather than being dogmatic about it, be situational–just as you probably are with many work issues.
- If you are communicating upwardly, find out if your manager or others at that level have a preference for communicating about matters that don’t require in-person conversation. Or, call or send an email and ask if he or she would prefer that kind of contact or should you come by to see them in person.
- Let others know your preference about communication. In your email about a situation say, “Just email me the results, that way I’ll have a copy.” Or, “Email me the results but call me ahead of time so I’ll be looking for it.” Or, don’t worry about emailing me the results. Let’s get together and talk about it. What time?”
- If you communicate in person, be respectful of the time of others. Don’t use every visit to someones office, cubicle or workplace as an opportunity to take a break and take them with you mentally!
- If you communicate by email or phone, be aware of the frustrations of unnecessary messages or ringing phones. Don’t cc people unnecessarily, just as you would not pull all of those people into a room to talk about it. Also save up messages if you think you will need to get advice or input several times.
- Even if you talk to someone in person or on the phone, email crucial information as a way to document what you have done.
- If what you are talking about is not something you would ever want disclosed or reviewed in hard copy, talk instead of emailing.
The bottom line is to have a reason for your choices about communicating. There are times when communicating by email is by far the best choice. Other times, a phone call is the right call to make. And, sometimes it’s better to walk or drive to the location and be able to talk to someone face to face. The choice depends upon you, the other person, the setting, the topic and the time required.
Do you have a preference about workplace communication? How do you handle it when someone else wants to communicate differently?