Inventions, Innovations and Ideas in the Workplace: Communication

by Karla Pope
Apr 27, 2018 9:00 AM ET

CBRE Blueprint | Life at Work

Communication is key to a thriving, effective workplace. Without the proper communication channels, employees are unable to share information or adequately express themselves, which can hinder productivity and negatively impact office morale.

Thankfully, throughout the years, office workers have been equipped with the tools to help them successfully communicate their thoughts and concerns in a collaborative, timely manner. From computers to tablets to email to smartphones, these innovations have improved how we work.

Below, we look at three communication game-changers that forever transformed the workplace.


In 1975, computers cemented their place in the history of the workplace following the groundbreaking typewriter. However, they weren’t equipped with the data processing systems and programs we’re familiar with today until the mid-1990s. That’s when American office workers’ productivity started to steadily increase—speeding up the pace of work.       

Laptops later followed, making it possible for people to take work home. Today, laptops free employees up to work anywhere. That means more work, more productivity, more communication and more collaboration regardless of physical location.


The advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s forever changed how we communicate with each other, in both our personal and professional lives. The pioneering digital medium united coworkers, breaking down geographical limitations and paving the way for the telecommuter. Access to the Internet made it easy to do research fast. Going online also enabled businesses to reach consumers beyond their walls at paces never achieved before, rapidly expanding their customer reach. Having information at employees’ fingertips has become the cornerstone for offices around the world.


Taking the Internet-fueled information age to the next level, email exponentially accelerated workplace communications. The medium, which laid the foundation for the instant messaging tools employees have come to rely heavily upon today, connected coworkers inside and outside of offices, and even across continents. Email remains the most dominant form of workplace communication today.

On average, people send 100 billion business-related emails a day, according to researchers at the Radicati Group. In other words, the average office worker receives 121 emails a day and sends out 40 business emails a day.

Whether you love or loathe being constantly plugged in, there’s no denying that email has revolutionized how we communicate and, ultimately, how we do our jobs.