Business Instant Messaging

Written by Serena Berger
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Business instant messaging can dramatically improve communication between your employees. Rather than making a phone call every time someone needs to ask a question, an employee can send someone a message that the other person can answer at his or her convenience. If someone is meeting with a client or customer in his office, instant messages can be temporarily ignored until it becomes convenient for the employee to respond to them--phone calls won't interrupt during the meeting, but the sender will not have to wait for the employee to check email later, which can take longer than seeing an IM.

Since business instant messages should be used primarily for work-related communication, most software packages for business instant messaging allow administrators to monitor and log any message sent across the network. If you are going to be monitoring messages, you should give your employees the courtesy of knowing that and discuss with them what is and is not acceptable. While it might not be an issue for them to send out personal messages such as "Do you want to grab lunch?" employers rightfully frown upon individuals carrying on conversations completely unrelated to work for hours on end.

Features of Business Instant Messaging Software

Some instant messaging packages for business include a host of other features. Some allow you to leave audio messages for other employees at any time, provided that you have a microphone attached to the computer. Like text messages, these can also be monitored by the administrator.

Other features facilitate collaboration on shared documents. Rather than everyone crowding around a single computer or one person at a time making changes before passing it on to another employee, you can work simultaneously on a document by remotely connecting to someone else's computer. Combining this tool with instant messaging can increase the productivity of groups, allowing them to finish their projects faster than before.

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