In the office, miscommunication is the root of many common problems. Offices may have a mix of personalities with different ways of hearing and relaying information. Despite everyone’s best intentions, communication missteps can cause everything from personal conflict in the office to a botched work project.

In a recent study of 1,000 U.S. employees, 56% reported having miscommunicated in the office. Fortunately, most miscommunication is avoidable.

Here are a few best practices for clear office communication:

Set clear expectations. When employees are under-delivering at work, it may be because they have a misunderstanding about what is expected of them. Clear goals and benchmarks are crucial guideposts for workers to assess their own performance. Communicating these expectations should be clear and concise so employees know when they fall short.

Separate personal and professional. Have employees keep separate accounts for work and personal communication tools. Many employees may use the same instant messaging apps, email services, or social media accounts in their personal lives as they do at the office, but maintaining a clear line between the two can eliminate an unintentional cross-over in communication.

Keep it simple. While it may be cathartic for managers to lay out their entire thought process about an issue in a long, convoluted email, this type of communication is counterproductive. Email communication should be intentional and well thought-out. Be sure that emails are slimmed down as much as possible and cleared of contradictions before hitting the send button.

Get it in writing. While quick notes, emails, or chats are fine for informal communication or collaboration, important company policies and changes should be put into writing. This starts with an employee handbook and extends to performance reviews and major policy changes.

Give employees access. Important data, documents, and presentations shouldn’t be hidden away on managers’ desktops. Employees should be able to access the materials they need to do their jobs through a document sharing program. Having as much information out in the open as possible helps avoid miscommunication.

Choose collaborative tools. Today’s technology makes collaboration easier than ever. Tools like Slack and Skype mimic the instant back and forth of face-to-face communication, while still allowing employees to stay at their desks or work remotely. This instant collaboration clears up miscommunication quicker than email.

To learn more about how LBMC Employment Partners can help improve the communication protocols at your business, contact us today.