Even in the early 2000s, researchers noted how instant messaging helped to decrease needless, back-and-forth phone calls and alleviate miscommunications. And instant messaging trounces email by offering immediate and clearer resolution to business concerns that may have lingered unnoticed in inboxes.
Ease of communication also breeds distraction and informality, where instant messaging becomes a natural conduit to share non-work related information, including details, sometimes inappropriate, of workers’ personal lives.
And, even as you encourage online socializing, make sure it happens in the real world, too; consider company picnics, social lunches, and community volunteer days. If you follow these protocols, any IM platform will remain a beneficial workplace tool rather than a nuisance.
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