How to Rein In the Over-Communicative Construction Employee

Tips to decrease over communication on the construction jobsite while still creating an environment to relay important information when needed

One method to reduce over communication is restricting the Over-Communicator to special pre-sanctioned communication times. Simply explain that you have work to catch up on and need to cut out non-emergency interruptions.
One method to reduce over communication is restricting the Over-Communicator to special pre-sanctioned communication times. Simply explain that you have work to catch up on and need to cut out non-emergency interruptions.

Most businesses have experienced the mixed blessing of a certain type of employee: the Over-Communicator. The Over-Communicator is typically a hard-working employee. By 8:00 a.m., if not earlier, he already has something to report, a story to tell you or an idea or strategy to run by you. And he or she keeps those texts and phone calls flowing throughout the day.

The glitch is the employee seems to feel they must relay every detail, every move, every slight change of course.

You probably already feel like your attention is pulled in many different directions, and you could do with fewer phone calls or texts from The Over-Communicator.

So how do you deal with this tricky but time-draining situation?

There are a few approaches you can take. The more obvious involve restricting the Over-Communicator to special pre-sanctioned communication times. You can do this kindly by simply explaining that you have work to catch up on and need to cut out non-emergency interruptions.

Here are a couple other ways to reduce communications:

  • Set up a ten-minute Skype or FaceTime call with this person every day at the beginning or the end of his or her shift, but set a timer to keep it to ten minutes.
  • Arrange for a weekly face-to-face that’s at a convenient time for both of you — when they will feel like they can download their major concerns and progress updates and keep it to 20 or 25 minutes.
  • Use technology such as mobile apps for communication purposes

There are many different technologies that can help decrease the frequency of communication needed. Create a shared document in Microsoft Sharepoint or Google Drive where he or she can insert progress reports and you can write a quick comment to indicate that you’ve read it.

Alternatively, some mobile app solutions include field note-like features that would allow your employee to report on happenings with his or her mobile device through photo, text and audio updates which are posted in real-time to the cloud, so you can access the information from anywhere and respond accordingly.

With most if not all non-emergency communication coming through a single channel you can check at your convenience, you don’t have to worry about being pinged with long, detailed text messages or interrupted by long phone calls — and the multimedia nature of a field notes-like feature means fewer words will be needed, period.

Amy Bourne is the marketing copywriter for ExakTime, developer of an award-winning time clock app featuring Field Notes. You can reach her at [email protected]. Follow ExakTime on Twitter @exaktime.

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