Digital communication has become one of the defining factors in workplace efficiency. Providing employees with the right tools for the right situations can maximize employee efficacy and keep morale high. How and why we communicate with our coworkers varies in different situations and working environments. During the pandemic, messaging solutions and email have become even more critical, as teams attempt to collaborate from different locations. In some office environments, managers might find that instant messaging apps fill a valuable niche between email and verbal communication.


What are they good for?

One of the best applications for instant messaging apps is as a chat forum between multiple people discussing a single topic. Many of us have had the experience of being included on long email chains which quickly become repetitive, messy or difficult to follow. Employing an instant messaging app allows those participating in a discussion to seamlessly add their thoughts in a forum which can easily be referred to at any time. Most instant messaging solutions also include file sharing and collaboration tools which allows participants to make minor changes to a centralized document.  Video conferencing, desktop sharing and live audio meetings have also become key features of many instant messaging services.


What Are The Drawbacks?

With many new solutions, employee buy-in is a key factor to determining success. In some cases, there may be team members who are simply not going to use instant messaging because they are not accustomed to it. For communication solutions to truly be effective, the entire team must embrace the new solution. Lopsided integration might mean that certain people don’t receive messages or have access to necessary information. Instant messaging may also mean an increase in the number of notifications workers receive in a given work day, which may be prohibitively disruptive for some employees. Workers will need to practice time management which allows them to ignore notifications at busy periods, just as they might disregard emails during a meeting or period of intense concentration.


What Are The Best Solutions?

Professional instant messaging apps have become very common and a popular category for developers. Slack, Skype, Discord and Google Chat are all apps that have become widely used in office settings. Here at MCT, we use Microsoft Teams, an app included in the Office 365 Suite. Teams is being pushed forward by Microsoft as a solution for businesses, as well as a messaging platform to be for personal use. Microsoft Teams includes file sharing, real time one to one chat, categorized topical chat, screen sharing, video/audio conferencing, all in a pleasant interface with mobile, in-browser and desktop support. It’s a natural fit for offices that are already using the 365 suite in other ways.


From asking a quick clarifying question, to sharing company documentation with others, there are many instances when using an instant messenger will be the quickest way to communicate. Finding a good solution that your staff will embrace can really help to streamline workflow. If you have questions about the best instant messaging solution for your office, get in touch with Mankato Computer Technology.