June 12, 2017

Do Chat and IM Increase Productivity in the Workplace?




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The question of the efficacy Chat/Text/Instant Messaging gave somewhat mixed results in our "2017 Workplace Productivity and Communications Technology Report".  Overall, this communication mode was identified as the least used, with only 7% of the work day.  It also tied with conference calls as the least efficient, but the perceived efficiency of all modes varied only slightly, from 75% for the least efficient to 82% for the most efficient.  

Finally, so far as a preferred method of communication, as noted in the "How Do Business Professionals PREFER to Communicate?" post, Chat/Text/IM came in dead last, with only 13% choosing it as a preferred method while 42% ranked it as their least favorite mode.

So this separate finding, which 61% of the same respondents agreed with the statement that "Instant messaging and chat improve teamwork and productivity", seems counter-intuitive to say the least.  Why would something that is not used - and is not preferred - rank so highly as being effective?

There are a couple of plausible explanations.  First, the question here includes both teamwork and productivity.  And chatting probably does improve teamwork more than some other modes.  Additionally, this did not ask about the degree to which it improves productivity, just a yes/no.  So it still may be a communications mode that is yet to hit its peak in the workforce in spite of an apparent domination among the younger set.  Also, as previously noted, a major current challenge/frustration with this mode is the difficulty of having "universal messaging" applications that bridge multiple methods into a single user interface.

The bottom line is that we at Webtorials remain quite favorable on chat as an effective mode of communication.  In fact, it's one of the most prevalent and preferred ways that we communicate among ourselves.  So look for it to become even more commonplace in the corporate world, especially as a "smarter" technology than long email conversations.

Our mantra continues:  Use the right mode for the right task.
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For demographic information, please click here.  To access the companion Workplace Productivity and Communications Technology Reportclick here.


This perspective is authored by Steven Taylor, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Webtorials, and is brought to you in part due to the generous support of:


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