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The Pros and Cons of Using Text-Only Communication in the Virtual Workplace


Texting is trendy in social interactions, and it’s gradually gaining momentum in the workplace. Virtual teams are drifting away from phone calls to adopt text-only communication to enhance their workflow. But are they achieving the desired results?

The essence of communication is defeated if messages aren’t passed across effectively. If you are going to adopt text-only communication, you have to weigh the pros and cons to know what you are getting into.

At the end of the day, you want to provide your team with all the information they need to thrive. Read along as we discuss the dynamics of text-only communication among virtual teams.

What Is Text-Only Communication?

Woman Texting on Phone

Text-only communication is the process of communicating through written words using a mobile device. It includes SMS, WhatsApp chats, and E-Mail Communication.

Communicating effectively boosts employee motivation and engagement. They are inspired to give their best in achieving organizational goals. If texting puts them in that state of mind, it’s a welcome development.

Pros of Text-Only Communication in the Virtual Workplace

Boy Texting on Phone

The popularity of the virtual workplace has grown exponentially in recent times. Organizations don’t dwell on team members being present physically in the office but on their ability to get the job done from any location.

In addition to various internal communication tools for collaboration, they use text-only communication to get the most out of their virtual teams.


Text-only communication enhances the workflow of remote teams in the following ways:

1. Establish Trust

Trust in the workplace is key. It facilitates team efficiency by creating an enabling environment for collaboration in the virtual workplace.

Sending out a text to colleagues shows some level of trust in their judgment. It also indicates your willingness to seek help, share feedback, and discuss issues with colleagues.

Text-only communication has a significant effect on team performance. It can be considered the nail that holds collaborations between you and your staff together.

2. Save Costs

Globally, individuals and organizations are searching for cheaper economic options. Working virtually can be burdensome due to the financial obligations and a lack of proper time management of your daily activities.

Texting is cheap. When you text using applications such as WhatsApp and SMS to convey your messages across to colleagues, you find out that it’s cheaper and takes up less time.

3. Create Convenience

Flexible timing is one of the tips for managing remote teams efficiently. Texting gives you a kind of freedom that calling doesn’t. It allows you to reply to received messages at the most convenient time for you.

With calls, you are under pressure to respond in real-time. You might not give the best response. Texting, on the other hand, gives you ample time to craft well-thought responses to messages received.

4. Provide Privacy and Greater Accessibility

Even though work is fast becoming a virtual affair, you need to be assured of your privacy. Text-only communication ensures that your privacy isn’t infringed on.

Background noise interrupts the meaning of messages. You may not hear the other person clearly or miss key points in their message. Texting makes noise or poor sound quality irrelevant to the interaction.

One significant advantage of texting is that it’s accessible to people who are hearing impaired.

Related: The Best Internal Communication Tools for Your Workplace

Cons of Text-Only Communication in the Virtual Workplace

Man Working on Computer in the Office

Text-only communication isn’t without some concerns. As you enjoy the benefits discussed above, you might experience several roadblocks along the way. For some organizations, these hitches are deal-breakers that make text-only communication unfavorable. Let’s take a look.

1. Poor Communication

Personalization matters when you are communicating, especially with coworkers. A lot of digital tools help virtual teams stay connected. However, some of these tools lack the personalization of traditional face-to-face interactions in the workplace.

Text-based communication lacks body language, tone, and other non-verbal signals that you might need to rely on for a successful project. The absence of these elements increases the likelihood of misinterpretation.

Also, some people are known to be reserved on the use of text-based digital channels due to the footprints it leaves. This makes it very unlikely for them to participate in meetings or reply to texts freely.

2. Misinterpretation

When text messages are sent, the recipient’s interpretation of the message may be different from the sender’s intent. Messages can be easily misunderstood or taken out of context, since the sender isn’t available to clarify their intention on the spot.

In allocating tasks in the virtual workplace, leaders should be mindful of the negatives that come up such as misunderstanding, assumptions, and off-the-mark inferences. When team members feel attacked by messages sent to them, they push back in any way they can, and that affects the overall performance.

3. Reluctance to Take Action

Work ethic differs among team members. In a virtual workplace where team leaders are limited in their capacity to enforce instructions, some employees may not take text-only communication seriously. People may ignore text message requests or delay responses in a virtual setting.

Define the basis for communication among your team members. Set time limits for replies and responses, so messages don’t linger for too long.

4. Conflict in Generational Preference

The use of text-only as a means of communication to virtual teams reveals a gap between how generations use various communication tools. While the older generation may feel good about face-to-face communication, Millennials and Gen Zs would rather receive or send a text message. The difference in preference can obstruct the workflow.

Keep Your Text-Only Communication Simple

Many virtual workplace issues stem from communication hurdles due to teams working in separate locations. This leads to lower levels of trust and higher levels of conflict than employees working together.

As a leader, you must remain vigilant in assessing team members’ work and providing ongoing feedback to address problems. A great way to do this is by mastering the ability to communicate as simply as possible. Don’t leave room for misunderstanding or assumptions when texting. Say it most clearly, so anyone can get the message without racking their brain.

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