Kip Soteres

7 Tips to Help Employees Use Messaging Tools Effectively

More people than ever are working from home, and online chat and instant messaging tools have become important and useful ways to communicate, collaborate and complete work successfully.

Though instant messages are great for quick business communication, they can also create some bad habits. If you choose to use instant messaging at your business, consider giving employees some tips to help them steer clear of common mistakes, avoid frustrating coworkers, and remain efficient. You can start with the following seven tips:

  1. Keep instant messaging work related. Save photos of pets or funny jokes for personal social media accounts.

  2. Send brief and concise messages. If a message requires more than a couple of sentences or is about a complicated topic, then it’s better to email it or schedule a dedicated meeting.

  3. Wait for a response to a first message before sending another. Understand that a coworker may not be able to respond to a message immediately, and, if the need is urgent, send an email or call them.

  4. Ask coworkers if they are available to chat, and give them an idea of how much of their time you will need. This helps coworkers plan accordingly and shows respect for their time.

  5. Introduce coworkers who are new to the conversation, and be sure to give them background so they are able to successfully contribute. Creating and nurturing virtual relationships between all participants helps bridge gaps and facilitate productive business chat.

  6. Send attachments and supporting materials via email, or, if available, share these items via desktop sharing tools.

  7. Be considerate of working hours and time zones.

As always, there is a time and a place for more difficult conversations or critical feedback. Instant messaging isn’t always the best choice for your business communication, so be sure to consider all of your options carefully.

Used correctly, instant messaging can help your employees stay connected and ensure that they are collaborating as effectively as possible.