The Importance of Effective Workplace Communication – Statistics for 2022

communication in the workplace statistics

In 2020, the entire world became reliant on technology to stay connected. Here are some eye-opening stats to prove it…


The Changing State of the Workplace

COVID-19 has completely changed the workplace climate. With so many people working from home, we’ve seen lounges turn into offices, and bedrooms used as conference rooms. This has greatly affected the way we communicate.

In the US, 42% of the labor force was working from home full-time in summer 2020. That’s almost half the working population forsaking face-to-face meetings for new technologies in order to connect with clients, customers, and colleagues.

The working from home trend isn’t likely to end soon, especially according to the 125 CEOs and decision makers we polled in May 2022 (see our ‘How COVID Impacted Hybrid/Remote Working & Workplace Communications‘ section further down this article). This will bring about new opportunities for businesses, but also some challenges.

We’ve collected our own data on remote working (plus some other eye-opening statistics on communication in the workplace) and provided tips on how to perfect your own workplace comms.


11 Key Workplace Communication Statistics

How is the working world communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are the common trends?

Here are the crucial statistics on workplace communication:

  • 86% of employees and executives cite the lack of effective collaboration and communication as the main causes for workplace failures.
  • Improved internal communication can improve organisational productivity by as much as 25%.
  • 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy on a daily basis.
  • Communications barriers could be costing businesses around $37 billion a year.
  • 16% of managers would prefer email interactions as they end up feeling uncomfortable.
  • When employees are offered better communication technology and skills, productivity can increase by up to 30%.
  • 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time.

Here are the key findings from our own May 2022 study of 125 CEOs & decision makers.

  • Slack is the most popular platform for workplace communication – used by 52% of respondents. This is followed by Zoom (47%), and Google Hangouts/Meet (26%). 
  • 92% saw positive benefits of flexible working options.
  • 16% stated that there were negative impacts.
  • 94% stated that they will continue working in a remote/hybrid way.

We compared them with a similar study we did in May 2020 of 100 CEOs & decision makers:

Like the graphics on this page? Please feel free to use them, we also have infographic versions compiling them together too. You can access them all on this Google Drive – all we ask is that you credit us with a link back to this page if you do use any. Thanks!


Why Effective Communication Matters in the Workplace

With the sudden move from office-based collaboration to remote collaboration, some businesses have struggled to maintain best practice in terms of communication. Below are some stats that highlight how communication can benefit your business.

Increases Productivity

  • Organizations with connected employees show productivity increases of 20-25%.
  • 64% of businesses list communicating their ‘strategy, values, and purpose’ to employees as a key priority.
  • 97% of workers believe that communication impacts tasks every day.
  • When employees are offered better communication technology and skills, productivity can increase by up to 30%

Increases Team Building and Trust

  • 86% of corporate executives, educators, and employees cite ineffective communication and poor collaboration as reasons for failures in the workplace.
  • Employees who feel their voice is heard in the workplace are almost five times more likely (4.6x) to feel empowered to deliver their best work.
  • 39% of employees around the world feel that people don’t collaborate enough within their organization, yet 75% of employers rate collaboration and teamwork as ‘very important’.

The Cost of Poor Communication in the Workplace

  • 28% of employees cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time.
  • Miscommunication costs companies with 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.
  • Communications barriers could be costing businesses around $37 billion a year

How Employees and Managers Prefer to Communicate at Work

Employees like communication, it makes them happier and more efficient:

  • Harvard Business Review cites that 72% of employees feel their performance would improve if their managers were to provide corrective — sometimes also dubbed as “negative” — feedback.
  • A study by Officevibe shows that 43% of highly engaged individuals receive feedback at least once per week, in contrast with only 18% of low-engaged individuals.
  • A report by Trade Press Services shows that as many as 85% of employees claim they are most motivated when regularly updated about company news and information.

According to Gallup, team members with higher levels of engagement:

  • Produce substantially better outcomes
  • Treat customers better and attract new ones
  • Are more likely to remain with their organization
  • Are healthier and less likely to experience burnout

Managers:

  • 69% of managers are uncomfortable when communicating with their employees, with 16% preferring email to face-to-face interactions.
  • one Gallup estimate shows that only 50% of employees know what their managers expect from them.
  • 73% of employers want employees with strong written communication skills, as found by the National Association of Colleges and Employees.

How COVID Impacted Hybrid/Remote Working & Workplace Communications

We spoke to 125 company CEOs, founders, and decision makers from European and North American companies in May 2022 about their hybrid/remote setups. They let us know the main benefits and drawbacks they’d seen for their employees and companies, as well as what programs and methods they've used to keep their operation going.

The overwhelming majority of businesses (92%) saw positive benefits of flexible working options – including an increase in employee productivity and happiness. This is slightly up to our previous report in May 2020 of 100 companies, where 90% saw positive WFH benefits.

From our same 2020 report, 71% said they’d witnessed negative impacts, such as a reduction in productivity, difficulty in maintaining the work/life balance, and difficulty in assessing accountability. In our latest findings, only 16% stated that there were negative impacts. This isn’t too surprising as a lot of the prior negative impacts were around adjusting to a new way of working during a stressful time.

Of all the 125 hybrid/remote companies, 94% stated that they will continue working in a remote/hybrid way. This is an interesting contrast to 2020, when 82% of the companies expected staff to request remote working after returning to the office.

“There’s been a notable increase in productivity, happiness and creativity since we've allowed people to work from home. People have more control over their time and are able to focus more when they're not in an office environment. There’s also been a decrease in sick days and overall absences.” Trevor Larson, CEO and Founder of Nectar

Only 1 of the companies we spoke to has returned to the office full-time having previously operated hybrid/remotely during the pandemic. 7 (6%) aim to return to the office within the next two years, with hybrid aspects to the workplace.

In-Office Now and In The Future 

We split the 125 respondents by whether they’d already returned to the office full time (5 days a week), had plans to in the future, or if they would continue hybrid or remote working. We also asked hybrid companies how many days they’d instructed their employees to work in the office.

Another trend, stated by some of the remote companies, will be using co-working spaces for any employees who’d like face to face time:

“We don’t plan on returning to the office full-time in the future as we’re a remote-first company, but we’ll offer flexible workspace options to our employees. Giving WeWork access to all team members for a more flexible workspace that provides for the needs of employees who enjoy working in an office environment.” Monica Chan, Co-founder of DigiWorks

Benefits and Downsides of Hybrid and Remote working

Here’s a breakdown of what the CEOs mentioned were the biggest benefits and downsides of hybrid/remote working. We’ve split it by combined overall insights, and then specifically by hybrid and remote companies.

“Throughout my career, I was a firm believer that you build successful teams by working in-person day-to-day. 

The pandemic opened my eyes to the possibility of building great teams that thrive in a completely remote and/or hybrid setting. With my current startup, we are completely remote and the benefit of this is being able to recruit and retain top talent across the world. We do not have plans for a physical office building at this time.

Every employee has a unique life, meaning their family situations are different, their living situations are different, and their hobbies are different. An understanding and appreciation for these differences are key to having a hybrid or fully remote workplace and one that inspires and empowers its team. When a team feels supported and respected, they will deliver great results.” Jason Brown, Founder and CEO of Family Central

4 More Key Remote Worker Statistics 

  • More than 4.7 million people work remotely at least half the time in the United States.
  • When asked if they'd prefer a salary increase or a four-day workweek, roughly 50% of people took the four-day week.
  • Upwork estimates that 22% of the workforce (36.2 Million Americans) will work remotely by 2025.
  • Owl Labs says after COVID-19, 92% of people surveyed expect to work from home at least 1 day per week and 80% expected to work at least 3 days from home per week.

Statistics on Workplace Communication Technologies

With fewer face-to-face meetings than ever before, organizations have been even more reliant on technology. Here are the findings from our study on the most popular communication platforms and work managment platforms:

Below, we'll quickly discuss the most popular videoconferencing brands and their meteoric (yet necessary) rise in usage due to COVID-19. After that, we'll show you some awesome stats on email, VoIP, and phone communication.

Workplace Communication Programs

Zoom

Few phenomena have taken over the COVID-19 discourse like the ‘Zoom boom’. Zoom quizzes, drinks, and catch ups have become so common that the company’s revenues have jumped by 169% in 2021.

Zoom has around 470,000 paying customers in 2022. The quantity of meeting minutes that take place on the platform every year is over 3.3 trillion!

Skype

Similarly to Zoom, there has been huge hype around Skype. Microsoft’s video calling service reported 40 million daily users in March 2020, up 70% from the previous month.

Google Meet

Google’s video conference tool has also seen a meteoric rise in usage, with its daily usage rising by 25% from January to March 2020.

Slack

The ever popular workplace communication tool reported that it added 9,000 new paid customers between February 1st and March 25th 2020. That represents an 80% increase over the last two financial quarters. As of 2020, over 750,000 organizations use Slack (112,000 of these are ‘paid’ organizations).


Email Stats

How many emails do we send and receive each day, and just how much of our time and profits are unwanted emails wasting?

Quantity

With over 4 billion email users in the world, it's no surprise that email is one of the most used methods of contact. In fact, email is the primary method of communication for remote workers, followed by instant messaging and video chat. However, even though 333.2 billion emails are sent and received worldwide, every day, only about a third (34.1%) of emails in North America are actually opened.

Usage

People spend an average of 17 hours per week reading, responding to, and sending work emails. This is far easier now than it was even a decade ago, due to the ease of checking emails on mobile devices. In fact, more than one half of emails are opened on a mobile device. This allows 42% of Americans to check their business emails while in the restroom, with a condemnable 18% even doing so while driving.

If you needed another sign of how easy it is to access someone through email nowadays, the fact that 70% of emails are opened within six seconds of receipt should tell you everything you need to know.

Usefulness

However, as we all know, not every email that is sent is worth reading. Only about 38% of the average inbox contains emails that are actually relevant or important. It’s no surprise, then, that 60.8% of employees ignore emails at work.

Almost half (47.7%) of workers said that receiving fewer emails at work would increase job satisfaction, and 26% of employees view email as a serious productivity killer. However, email is still preferred as the primary method of communication for 74% of adults, and regardless of the email’s importance, it takes an average of 64 seconds for a worker to ‘recover’ from an email interruption, and resume work as normal.


Phone Stats

Phones are absolutely everywhere – but do they belong in the workplace? What attitudes do employers hold towards mobile work, and how good are we at picking up the receiver?

Usage

Three in five companies say that phone systems are among their most urgent priorities for investment. Despite this desire, only 26% of US companies provide mobile phones for their employees. This discrepancy may be because 98% of enterprises report that their employees use smartphones for business purposes, and 87% of companies expect employees to use their personal devices for business purposes.

It's not just standard workers who are expected to use their own phones. One quarter of a CEO’s time in a working day is spent on phone calls.

Phones aren't perfect. They leave a lot of wiggle room, with 57% of employees multitasking during work phone calls, and 86% of calls to businesses being put on hold before the caller speaks to anybody. In this case, almost a third (32%) of those callers will hang up immediately.

Preference

Speaking of customers, it's worth mentioning that two thirds (65%) of customers still prefer to contact a business by phone. However, 75% of millennials don’t like making or taking phone calls because of its time-consuming nature. 78% of people who text wish they could have a text conversation with a business.

Looking at workers' preferences, 70% of workers keep their personal phones “within eye contact” at work, and 85% of employees use more than one device to communicate at work

Workers who feel their employers use mobile technology effectively are 23% more satisfied than those in companies where use of mobiles is “bad.” They’re also 21% more loyal, 18% more creative, and 16% more productive!


VoIP Stats

29% of companies have switched to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) office phone systems because they make it easier to forward calls to their mobile phones. The expected market value for VoIP worldwide is expected to reach $127 billion this year.

Small businesses that switch to a VoIP telephone system can save up to 40% in local call costs, and 90% on international calls!


Key Takeaways

From our own research and the stats provided, the first thing that becomes clear is that many businesses aren’t good enough when it comes to communication with their employees.

The organizations nailing their communication are the ones succeeding, while those with poor communication techniques are typically dogged by missed deadlines, lower employee engagement, and a lack of confidence in managers.

What about the future? It looks like hybrid and remote working are here to stay. From our research, the vast majority of businesses see the benefit of flexible work options for their employees, and will continue implementing them.

And while the COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable, we can be sure that video conference software such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet will remain vital for communication in the workplace, and across the world.

Tips for Effective Communication in the Workplace

Face-to-face meetings: Despite all the technology we've discussed, sometimes the best thing for a team or individual is a face-to-face meeting. Whether this is a team of 10 getting together to recap on their progress, or a one-on-one meeting between an employee and their manager, the benefit of these meetings cannot be understated.

These meetings don't have to be in person. A Zoom call or Google Hangout can achieve the same effect. It's just helpful to foster an environment where people can voice issues or raise questions that don't warrant an entire email, or are harder to convey over text.

Manage time effectively: That said, meetings aren't the solution to every problem. We've all only got a limited amount of time to work each day, and having this time get consumed by useless meetings will only lead to slower workflow and frustrated employees. 71% of workers claim that their time is wasted due to unnecessary meetings.

“This meeting could have been an email” is a common sentiment among workers who find their workflow constantly stunted by half-hour meetings that could have been summed up in a sentence or two. Make sure that you're aware of peoples' time allowances, and plan accordingly.

Make it a conversation, not a lecture: Your team is (hopefully) made up of adults, so there's no need to make every interaction into a drawn-out, classroom-esque lecture. Obviously there will be times where a presentation or two is necessary, but it's a lot more engaging for everyone if they're given the opportunity to voice concerns or ask questions.

Make sure training is airtight: 59% of employees claim that they received no little to no training when starting a new job, with 87% of millennials believing that learning and development in the workplace is an important part of employment.

Investing a solid week or two into properly training a new employee might sound tiring or like a waste of time, but it will make the entirety of their remaining employment far easier for both parties. Communication won't be bogged down by constant questions and mistakes, and everything will flow far easier.

Diplomacy is key: It's a fact that every workplace is going to have a conflict or two. 85% of employees experience some kind of conflict during their tenure at a business, with 49% of these being caused by clashings of egos and personalities.

These issues are always going to be harder to navigate than a standard workplace issue, so it pays off to sincerely listen and cater to both sides (as long as one side isn't being openly ridiculous).

Duncan Lambden
Duncan Lambden Senior Writer

Duncan (BA in English Textual Studies and Game Design) is an Australian-born writer for Expert Market. His articles focus on ecommerce platforms and business software that allows small businesses to improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on invoice financing and customer relations. He has written for Website Builder Expert and Tech.co, and has been featured in Forbes. In his free time, Duncan loves to deconstruct video games, which means that his loved ones are keenly concerned about the amount of time he spends looking at screens.