8 Ways To Reduce Communication Barriers In The Workplace

June 18, 2020 2244 views

Managing Workplace Communication Barriers

There are many communication barriers in the workplace. Many of these can be easily resolved; others need a lot of work for improvement. The lack of wanting to improve is the most significant barrier to any growth. When you’re dedicated to improvement, you’ll find a solution.

In this introduction, I’d like to share the barriers I can relate to most when it comes to poor communications at work. In addition to my views, further down the page, you’ll find a variety of articles written by different authors to give you a broad perspective.

You may want to bookmark this page because you won’t’ be able to digest all the information in one sitting.

1. High Dependency on eMails

When we depend on emails, we don’t get the one to one communication benefits, which allow us to clarify a point and let the other person ask questions on the spot.

Do you remember the last time you gave instructions through an email? Maybe a few emails had to go back and forth to get the point across.
Maybe the recipient ignored your email simply because they didn’t understand the message or its importance. eMails are a great way to communicate, but they are not the only way to communicate.

2. Off shifts

When you work in an environment where you have multiple shifts and are dedicated to one shift, it’s challenging to communicate effectively to the entire team.

You don’t want meetings to occur only on your shift, for example:
If your operation runs 24/7, and your shift is 6 am – 2 pm. When there is important information, to pass on to your team, you could start a half-hour early. That way, you cover the midnight shift and stay a half-hour later to cover your afternoon shift allowing you to communicate with the entire team.

3. Language Barriers

With a multi-cultured workforce, you may run into language barriers that are difficult to overcome. One solution is to get a translator. You can do this by having one employee that is fluent in both languages become your official translator. You could also hire a translator, but a translator that already works with you would have a better understanding of the process and would have an advantage in communicating effectively.

4. No Open-door Policy

When you have an open-door policy, you allow anyone to come to you with anything they want to talk to you about. An open-door policy helps build morale, makes you an approachable boss, and allows for better communications.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to open-door policies.


  • You’ll know information from the front line instead of just your supervisors and managers
  • You may get good ideas from people on the front line
  • You can resolve issues before they escalate


  • People may take advantage and come to you with trivial issues
  • People make an open-door policy a complaint department
  • It may be time-consuming

5. Too Busy

When you are busy, the last thing you want to do is deal with new issues. You’re busy, and you want to get the work you already have completed. The problem is, the more responsibility you have, the busier you are.

Imagine if you’re always busy, and the people that report to you find you unapproachable because you are working.

Well, what if they have something important to discuss. When you approach a busy person, you can’t convey the message effectively, can you? You probably blurt out what you have to say and then you are rushed away without an answer.

Take time to deal with unscheduled issues. How long will it take? A lot of communications can take five to ten minutes. How many conversations a day would you have?

Let’s look at an example. On a busy day, you may have ten issues. Let’s average that by five minutes each. In total, you have around 50 minutes. That’s one hour a day to deal with the issues that need your attention. It’s essential to set time in your schedule for those issues.

6. Poor Communication Skills

If someone has poor communication skills, to begin with, then that’s a problem in itself. There are many avenues to improve communication skills. The first step is the desire to improve, without it, no matter what action you take, you won’t see a lot of improvement.
Excellent communication skills are a must for any leader looking to be successful in the workplace.

7. Poor Locations

You may work in an area where there is a lot of noise and activity going on, which makes discussions difficult. In a noisy environment, people will have trouble hearing you, and you don’t want to be yelling. It’s to your advantage to find an area where you can meet, allowing you to discuss issues effectively.

8. Fear of Loss of Productivity

Another barrier of communicating in the workplace is the fear of wasting time speaking with your workforce, especially when you are in a manufacturing type of operation and minutes count towards production.

You don’t want to have a daily 10-minute meeting that can reduce your productivity. Multiply 10 minutes by 120 employees, and you have 1,200 minutes of downtime or 20 hours.

At the same time, you want to let the team know what’s expected for the day. You could do this in a 2-minute meeting were you share the information before the start of the shift. Make it quick, sweet, and useful.


As mentioned earlier, the following sections contain a unique collection of hand-picked articles that deal with workplace communications.

Communication Barriers In The Workplace

Top 7 communication barriers at workplace (Benefits of effective communication) – Yodiz Project Management Blog

Barriers to Effective Communication in the Workplace

5 Deadly Communication Barriers and How to Solve Them

Nine Barriers To Effective Workplace Communication| Business Communication

Communication barriers in the modern workplace – The Economist

Barriers to Effective Communication in the Workplace

Intercultural Communication Barriers In The Workplace

Cultural Communication Barriers in the Workplace | Chron.com

Cross Cultural Communication Barriers In Workplace

What Are Cultural Barriers to Communication in the Workplace? – Definition & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

5 Ways to Overcome Cultural Barriers in the Workplace – Take It Personel-ly

Barriers to Intercultural Communication – 1376 Words | Essay Example

Cultural Barriers in the Workplace – Springborn Staffing

Effective Communication In The Workplace

Improving Communications In The Workplace – Here Are The Resources To Do It! – A Touch of Business

20 Ways to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace – Small Business Trends

Effective Communication in the Workplace: How and Why? | HR Technologist

How to Communicate More Effectively in the Workplace | Harvard Professional Development | Harvard DCE

4 Ways to Facilitate Effective Communication in the Workplace

Top 10 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication | Fremont College

Main Components of Communication in the Workplace

How To Overcome Communication Barriers In The Workplace

How to Overcome Barriers of Communication at Work – Crew

4 Ways to Overcome Communication Barriers in the Workplace | Sandler Training

How to Overcome Communication Barriers at the Office

14 Communication Strategies to Overcome Communication Barriers in the Workplace | Indeed.com

Overcoming language barriers to communication | Typetalk

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