messenger best practices

Workplace Instant Messaging Best Practices

November 22, 2016   Katya Sotirova   General

Instant messaging in the workplace differs significantly from friendly instant messaging

After all, the workplace is a formal environment and instant messaging is no exception. This article will share some basic common practices and professional etiquette for instant messaging in the workplace.

In informal instant messaging, it is acceptable to use abbreviations like using “u” and “ur” for “you” and “your,” respectively. Do not use this kind of abbreviation in professional instant messages unless you already know that your workplace uses them. Many people see them as unprofessional in general, though exceptions exist. Offices where timing is paramount like trading firms tend to use IM abbreviations more frequently than others.

Email is generally written as long form correspondence like a letter

Instant messages, on the other hand, are a more conversational medium, so it is normal to write instant messages in a less constructed manner than emails. The crux of this distinction comes from the fact that we generally expect a series of quick replies in instant messages, but we can expect hours or days between email responses. Writing directly and succinctly is very important to instant messages. For instance, one might write several questions into one email and expect them all to be answered in the response. It would be more appropriate to ask these questions one at a time over an instant messenger.

Best Uses for Instant Messaging in the Office

The instant messaging software and apps have become extremely popular in the workplace. There are many times where this type of communication is much more effective than the email or other forms of communication.

Sometimes a person may be in a meeting, but there may be a need to get this person current information. This info may actually pertain to the meeting so this is a good time to get an instant message out.

There are also times when a group of employees may need to have access to information like passwords or certain shared Intranet access folders. It is good to have this type of information sent through instant messaging apps because it can be sent directly to the recipients. Private instant messaging can be used to send passwords and this cuts down on breaches in network security.

The office is changing more and more each day

For many years physical documents were the most important form of communication outside of verbal communication. This was complemented by email and text messaging, but today instant messaging reigns. It’s the fastest form of communication to other employees. This is the perfect way to relay messages and quickly get the attention of other employees that need information.