This post focuses on instant messaging, the productivity secret weapon. Find out how instant messaging for business can use real-time chat to boost their communication, collaboration, and productivity. This post has been adapted from an original post by the Office Team published on July 20, 2016.
Do you IM at work? Does your team use instant messaging? Instant messaging (or chat) can help any team of 2+ people stay connected, save time, and get more done. Enabling a system for quick, informal, easy-to-reference and mobile chats keeps teams connected for nimble collaborations—resulting in a major value-add to your business.
How much value, exactly?
Businesses that embrace instant messaging see remarkable improvements in productivity and communication. Per a survey of employees using chat services by SoftwareAdvice.com:
- 75 percent saw decreased call and email volume
- 66 percent noticed quick resolution for simple questions
- 21 percent reported either moderate or significant productivity increase
Don’t shoot the messenger
As company-wide IM benefits become clear, more businesses have gotten on board. If these benefits interest you, you can help ensure proper implementation and use throughout your company with some best practices. These tips will help your employees increase productivity and reduce frustrating growing pains.
The following five best practices help ensure successful adoption and usage of IM in your organization:
- Provide a company-wide solution—Don’t require employees to use personal accounts; implement a company-provided instant messaging offering. Using the same platform will streamline features and allow all your employees to find each other to chat.
- Choose a secure solution with robust features—Compliance standards (like HIPPA, DPAS and FISMA, FERPA and banking) apply to more than just email and other secure information sources. Ensure that all your communication tools align with common compliance standards.
- Integrate with other collaboration tools—Standalone instant messengers can leave employees with cumbersome roadblocks. Ensure your solution integrates seamlessly with other tools like business email, phone and video conferencing. Encourage employees to start conversations within project-specific documentation, so that the goal of the conversation remains clear and important information can be easily referenced.
- Empower employees to set and respect boundaries—Being reachable 24/7 is unrealistic and sets up your employees for burnout. Encourage colleagues to mute their instant messaging tool for periods of private productivity and focus, then remind co-workers to respect that virtual space.
- Don’t replace email completely—Instant messaging gives you a great way to communicate with even the most inbox-overwhelmed colleagues. But, instant messaging should not replace email or other collaboration tools that keep retrievable records. Set standards and show examples of the types of content best handled via IM, email, or other project management tools. A general rule: if the message contains more than a few words or sentences, email remains the best option.
A valuable tool for company-wide collaboration, you can use IM or chat to keep employees productive—not distracted or stressed. By implementing and encouraging best practices and sticking with a solution, you can see skyrocketing productivity and results.
Reader, do you use instant messaging at work? What has your experience been like? Would you share any tips or tricks of your own?