Business productivity and communication are some of the top priorities of most businesses. Finding ways to help employees get more done and complete projects faster and more efficiently is a driving force of the modern business. Businesses continue to look for ways to grow productivity in a meaningful way and connect with productivity tools that enable their employees. One tool that some companies see as intrinsically linked to better productivity is instant messaging or chat tools.
How does instant messaging really help productivity?
Here are some benefits that businesses see from using internal instant messaging programs.
- Improved teamwork: Communication leads to better collaboration. Teams that have the ability to just ping each other quickly to get an answer, feedback, or remind someone of something to have better teamwork than those who need to wait on emails or walk around the building to find someone. IMs give people the ability to get information faster, which drives the project forward and increases productivity. The other teamwork focused benefit of IMs is that they can create improved connections with remote and off-site employees. Including them in the workflow and team conversations means that everything is working form the same page.
- Quicker problem solving: Because IMs are instant, you get to answers faster. You can get clarity on a sticking point of a project and continue to work without getting held up and slowing everything down.
- Increased accountability: Instant messaging chat means logs and documentation. This is helpful if you need to reference something later. For instance, if you know you asked a question or discussed something with a coworker but can’t remember details, you can search your chat history – this is much easier than trying to remember details from an in-person conversation and having this record to look back at can increase productivity because your conversations are there for you to reference for future answers.
- Enables multi-tasking: IMs can give users the ability to multi-task better. They can shoot off a message and while waiting for a reply to pop up, they can continue their work or research. Long meetings or phone calls can reduce the amount of work an employee can actually do in any given day, so giving them the option of an instant messaging chat can help to keep up their productivity throughout the day and save them more time.
Instant messaging tips to see an increase in productivity
- Know the best use for IMs: One of the best instant messaging tips for businesses is to know that IMs are not a catch-all. They’re not a stand-in for in-person project kickoffs or employee check ins. They’re not a substitute for other forms of communication; they’re an add-on to create more holistic communication methods overall. They’re meant to facilitate quick conversations and provide more immediate clarity. Instant messaging programs are best suited for answering questions or sending reminders and less useful for complicated conversations. Longer meetings or discussions that people try to have via IM often lead to more questions than clarity and can be more of a hindrance than a helpful piece of productivity. Knowing exactly how to use IMs in a way that makes the most sense for your business will be how to exact the most productivity from an IM program and process.
- Keep it professional: Making sure that your instant messaging is related to projects – and not dedicated to gossip – is a key part of making it a tool that boosts productivity rather than creates distractions. This can be hard to monitor without actually screening your employee chats, but if you notice a decrease in productivity in team members, looking through chat log usage might be a good starting point. Additionally, making sure that best practices and correct company usage are a part of policies and discussions is helpful.
- Use the right program: Certain software, like Slack, integrates better into existing business programs and also offers additional features besides instant messaging, such as collaboration tools that can bring in vendors, clients, and more to increase communication. It also offers file sharing and face to face on-screen calls. With more communication options and better integration with existing tools, teams can see huge increases in productivity.
Do chat programs and instant messaging for businesses improve productivity? The answer will ultimately depend on how you use it. IMs can’t replace full meetings or work sessions and they can easily become a distraction that actually reduces productivity if not used appropriately. If keeping your teams productive and engaged and increasing open communication for your business is a priority, keep the uses of instant messaging in mind, remembering that you’ll learn how IM works best for your business as you go and you can create your own instant messaging tips that work for your business.