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A Chronology of Workplace Communication Systems

on 7 March 2017


Posted by Kevin Senior
Workplace Com Picture

Business competitors are always try to be a step ahead of their competition. Whether it’s being the first one to burst into a new market, find the best employees, or implement the newest in-house technology, all business people will tell you that there’s a very fine line between being first and second. One of the keys to success is efficient communication in the workspace.

If messages are being crossed, or are too slow, a business can not properly move forward in a trajectory towards prosperity. The ability to identify and effectively put to use certain mediums of technology has the power to propel one company past another. To pay homage to the many tools of communication that we’ve used over the years, let’s take a look back at how we’ve communicated in the business world in the past and present.

The Spoken Word

It would be difficult for anyone even fifty years ago, to foresee the most natural form of communication being run out of the house. Talking to someone in the flesh was original means of communication in the business world and of course still stands to be vitally important. Speaking to an employee or co-worker is the best way to settle disputes, understand their concerns, and to show that you care about what they have to say. Today, the role of speaking in the workspace has changed considerably. The most common place where such talk might be used in either during a lunch break or in a conference room. The tycoons of old surely could not have seen this coming. 

Mail Carriers

Before the lighting speed at which messages travel today, if we wanted a message sent across the ocean or even to a not too distant city, we would have to trust mail carriers to get it there. Depending on how far back you’d like to think, mail would travel via horseback and boats just to get to its destination. The road to delivery was slow and uncertain. Sensitive information would have to pass through a series of hands in the hope that its contents wouldn’t be read and wouldn’t compromise the business of the two parties involved. Far from perfect, this system was used for a number of years and despite its tortoise-like speed is still used today. However, in today’s business world products rather than messages are sent. Mail carriers have proven their worth over the years and will continue to be major players in the world of business.

The Telephone

The telephone made its first appearance after Alexander Graham Bell was awarded a patent for the telephone. The phone brought upon a dramatic shift within the business world and at home. In just seconds we could plausibly connect with any other person in the world. Of course, this led to messages being sent at a faster pace than ever in more of a private setting than ever before. It was this invention that brought the inhabitants of this world closer than ever. Ideas that never would have been spread before the telephone became mainstream. Collaborations that could never have been imagined before became vital to any growing business. The speed at which the world turned became just a little bit faster after phones were adopted in the workplace. Communication would only become quicker after the advent of mobile phones.

Messenger Services

After computers were widely adopted in the workplace it took some years before they became equipped with messaging services such as ICQ or AIM. The beauty of these services is that they allowed someone to quickly send a message to another person either inside or outside the office regarding a matter that didn’t merit a phone call. Such lighting-fast communication reduced the need of speaking to a person in the flesh and for phone calls. This fairly new service is expected to be a mainstay in the world of business for quite a while.

Online Collaboration Software

The activity that goes on in a company is ever more being conducted online. This being the case, many companies are starting to use online collaborative programs that allow them to record and communicate both simple and complex data in order to make it easily accessible to those involved in certain projects. Such software has all but rendered the conventional workplace obsolete.

Wherever technology takes us, know that the business world will be the first to implement it. But the question remains, will your business be at the front or the at back of that innovation-adoption queue?

Looking to create an internal communications plan, but want to avoid the hassle of starting it from scratch? This template can help.


Glasscubes is a user-friendly collaboration software for teams. Connect everyone that you work with in an online workspace that improves the way you share files, manage projects and communicate with each other.

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About this author: Kevin Senior

Managing Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience working with businesses of all sizes and industries, Kevin brings success to fast growing companies advising on best practices and growth lead technology solutions.