IM in business – performance enhancement or distractor?

Have you been pinged? Instant messaging inside business has ballooned at an ever increasing rate – but does this enable or disable performance?

IM or Instant Messaging used to be the domain of MSN , Yahoo and other internet based messaging systems, but increasingly organizations are installing systems internally.

What is Instant messaging?

IM is a person to person message system – you can see if a person is on line or not and send a message live to their  desk “PING!” The flashing icon in the tray at the bottom of the screen and the ping from your computers speaker tells you someone wants to chat – you open the window and start to converse. this instant gratification is compelling to many and indeed many are reluctant to set the system to “busy or in a meeting”.

When the “ping” comes in it is an instant distractor of concentration – much more pervasive that a phone ring – almost like many treat SMS messages on mobile phones.

Many organisations stop the ‘social’ versions of these products but install business one – I have even seen people 2 desks apart ping each other rather than be seen to talk – so is this the new ‘water cooler’?

Has the PING replaced the phone?

It seems that many are too keen to use the technology and are happy spend time explaining through a text conversation something that could easily be explored/ solved in just a couple of minutes on the phone.

 

IM- the start of office obesity?

With people able to PING each other when they are just a few feet apart it seems that for many we have even less reason to get out of our chairs – for many offices now a personal water distribution point and a commode will enable people to stay chained to their desks! – so why pay for an office at all? let them work from home! – it will be cheaper.

 

So is Instant Messaging enhancing or reducing work place performance – well for me unless carefully managed its a distraction that causes problems to take longer to solve that a short phone call.


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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

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