Communication In The Workplace Essay

This essay has a total of 1568 words and 6 pages.

Communication In The Workplace


During spring and summer of '98 I underwent a six month internship in the information
services department of a major company in my country Botswana. The company , Botswana
power corporation is the sole producer and distributor of electricity in Botswana. As a
company with branches all over the country it is easy to understand why communication
would be crucial to the day to day operations of this company as a whole. For the sake of
clarity however I'm going to limit the focus of this paper to the Information servives
departmentin which I worked.

My internship position was at the companies head office in Gaborone .As intern it did not
take me long to realize that almost all the departments needed the services of the IS
department in one way or the other.The IS department was essentially responsible for user
support,themaintainance ,repair and upgrade of computer systems and training of company

By far the greatest responsibility of the department was user support.Employees from
departments all over the complex would call in any problems they had with their computers.
These problems would be written down on a work order form and the handled in due
course.Because of this members of the department staff had to have effective listening
skills .I realized that when dealing with a user it was important for me to solicit as
much feedback as possible from them. I would ask questions and paraphrase what they were
saying so as to better understand the nature of the problem.This was important because
many a time the problem would be Just a simple matter of rebooting the computer and could
easily be resolved over the phone.When trying to get to the root of the problem it was
important that I display as much patience as possible with the users often vague responses
to my questions. I made a conscious effort not to interrupt them and to refrain from
distractions that would hinder my ability to listen effectively.Effective listening was
also important because it allowed take notice of paralanguage signals in a persons voice
allowed us to judge the urgency of the situation .We were also conscioutioas of the
paralanguage signals that we relayed to users.We use a phone friendly voice ,being careful
to maintain an even steady tone of voice.

Verbal communication within the department was limited because most of the time members of
the department worked outside the office attending to various service requests.Some
semeblece of communication was however maintained through pagers, and email.The members of
the group communicated about work orders through workorder forms.By reading these work
order forms group members had access to information about orders that were pending,had
been completed and those that needed the specialized expertise of one of the staff
members.The members also had a notice board in the office were each member indicated their
whereabouts.Although communication within the group was limited communication the was free
upward and downward flow of information between supervisors and their surbodinates.

The only time when the all the staff members got together was during the weekly meeting in
the managers office.The meeting was held with members sitting in around a round table ,so
that the group members could freely themselves verbally and non verbally.The atmosphere
was usually relaxed(except during emergency meetings)with drinks and snacks being
served.It was during these meetings that projectscheduling, recurring problems and
internal matters were disciussed.The meeting as was the office ws run democratic
manner.All members of the group was encouraged to offer their input.When there was
disagreement over a certain issue it was often put to the vote. As an intern these
meetings were the highlight of the week because of the many brilliant ideas that were born
from the brainstorming sessions that often went on during them.Group think was to a large
part avoided by the fact that we all knew that the manager door was always open.Whenever
anyone felt something that they did not feel comfortable saying in front of other people
they woulds tell him ,and he would bring up the subject at the next meeting.

The manager of the I.S department was what I would call a contingency/systems manager.He
did not have one set method of managing the office .How he managed the office was really
dependent on the situation.Most of the time I would say he was a human resources time of
manager.He tried to ensure that we were happy at work so that we would be motivated to
work hard.He made it a point to once in a while call us individually in his office so that
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