Providing a company wide instant messaging platform is important for businesses of all sizes. This instant, text based and easy to use collaboration technology keeps teams connected at all times resulting in some significant productivity improvements, here are the facts. According to a survey conducted by SoftwareAdvice.com, 75% of employees saw a decrease in their call and email volumes and roughly 66% noticed that through instant messaging (IM) they could received a quick and simple answer to their questions from fellow colleges. 21% have noted a moderate to significant increase in productivity.
Now that the productivity improving benefits are more clear, you may be interested in implementing a company wide IM platform, however, you are unsure where to start, here are a few best practices to keep in mind when implementing IM into your business:
- Implement a standard company wide solution – When choosing a IM platform make this your standard company wide solution, avoid solutions that require team members to create or use their personal accounts or download their own software clients, this gives you more control and security over the platform. Other benefits of keeping things standard would be, each team member will become familiar with the software client and platform you provide, streamlining the technology adoption among team members as well as making it easier to train new employees during their on-boarding process.
- Choose a secure and compliant solution – There are many compliance standards that apply to how information is handled including its privacy. Like email communication you have to ensure that your IM communications have the same features to align with these common compliance standards. Solutions like Microsoft Skype For Business come standard with these features to ensure you remain compliant.
- Integrate your IM with existing collaboration tools – Unlock the full potential of your IM solution by investing in one that has the ability to integrate seamlessly with your existing collaboration tools like business email, phone and video conferencing services. Microsoft Office 365 offers this seamless integration using Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Online, integrated with Microsoft Skype for Business. Benefit from this integration by viewing IM conversation history, scheduling video conference meetings directly from Outlook, sharing email attachments and making telephone calls from one platform.
- Educate employees to practice proper IM etiquette – Instant messaging has the ability to make your team members reachable on a 24/7 basis, however, this is unrealistic. Encourage team members to make use of the presence features that IM platforms like Microsoft Skype for Business has to offer. Presence is a powerful way to let other team members know that you are busy, in meeting or require some private time, this allows team members to respect others virtual space.
- IM and Email used together makes a powerful team – IM is a great way to collaborate, however, IM should not replace email or other collaboration tools completely. Set standards that team members can follow based on the type of content needed to be communicated, for example, if the message length is more than a few words or sentences, email in this case would be a better option, on the other hand you may have a quick question to ask a fellow team member that requires a instant response, in this case IM would be a better option.
Instant messaging can prove to be a powerful productivity enhancing tool, by encouraging a few best practices and choosing a solution that offers the features you need you will soon be set to improving your business productivity.
Author: Lyal Saayman
Lyal is the founder and director of Digisync Technology Solutions, he is a technologist and entrepreneur at heart and currently has interests in cloud technologies, software development and really all things ICT.