While email remains an important facet of professional business communications, the instant message is of rising importance in office environments everywhere. While any one of many factors may contribute to this shift, it provides those businesses that adopt it great advantages to their internal processes, and might even aid in their cybersecurity.
Why Instant Messaging?
For a better grasp on why the instant message is rising in popularity now, it helps to look at the changing face of the average employee. Workplaces are increasingly filled with members of Generation Y, who had a front-row seat to the introduction of instant messaging on a personal scale. As a result, these employees are more accustomed to quick, to-the-point, and (most crucially) rapid communications; something that email solutions aren’t always known for.
More to the business side of things, the inherent boost to productivity that instant messaging provides is hard to ignore, as are the benefits that even the typical approach to the instant message has when directly compared to email. Furthermore, because more businesses are adopting these solutions, their security has become a priority to their developers. At the rate that security is improving, instant messaging solutions could soon be as (if not more) secure than email.
This is not to say, of course, that business email is likely to be totally replaced by instant messaging anytime soon. This is to say that email will likely shift to be used more for external communications, while business messaging applications will probably be the way that internal communications are handled.
So How Does Instant Messaging Influence Productivity and Office Culture?
The benefits of using a more “chat”-based interface to collaborate within an organization are by no means a new discovery. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute released in 2012 reported that, with managing email and collaboration attempts taking a respective 28 and 20 percent of an average employee’s week, a messaging platform for business use would be a huge benefit.
These conclusions have proven to be prophetic, with instant messaging and chat being used in businesses everywhere to provide the benefits promised while also promoting the development of a discussion. However, in order for these results to stay true in your business, you need to make sure that these tools are not abused. We’ve compiled a few suggestions on how to keep your company chat a place of productivity.
Establish Channels for Non-Business Interests
As counterintuitive as it may sound, keeping communications in the workplace strictly work-related can ultimately hurt your overall productivity. However, once a conversation in one of these messaging apps deviates from a business-related topic, it can be impossible to salvage it. One way to balance this out is to establish certain conversations for business-only matters, and others for employees to bond over common interests and casual topics.
Nix Gossip from the Get-Go
However, while a bit of casual conversation can ultimately benefit productivity in the office, the wrong kinds can just as easily eliminate it and eventually cause greater issues for the business over time. Make sure that every employee is aware that there is a zero-tolerance policy on gossip and inappropriate over-sharing. This will help you protect both your employees, and your business as a whole.
Have the Right Amount of Fun
Along with the rise of instant messaging, the use of emojis and memes in communications has also increased. While they can be incredibly efficient at communicating a message, certain ones communicate things that have no place in the business environment. Furthermore, the temptation to overuse these alternatives to text can be overwhelming, and reduce a conversation to a time-wasting and distracting search to find the silliest image to share.
Disconnect If Need Be
We get it - sometimes you need to be able to work without the interruption of notifications. Don’t be afraid to turn them off for a little while to accomplish something greater.
For more ways to improve your communications, productivity, and other business processes, keep reading our blog, or reach out to Computerware by calling (703) 821-8200.