Before you IM at Work

IM or instant messaging is one of the best things the internet has given us. Instead off talking to a person on the phone or leaving them voicemail, we can just drop a line to our friends or colleagues and wait for a response in their own time.

Instead of waiting for an answer impatiently over the phone, we can do other things while waiting for the answer to come. From this standpoint, you can say that IM will even be beneficial for employees at work. The ease of communication is obviously there and there are no awkward introductions like in every e-mail we do.

However before you go ahead and download the latest version of the application, you should check the company policy regarding instant messaging. Most companies have acknowledged the use of IM in their industry while others can’t just see the necessity of this application to be installed in anyone’s business computer.

Without any IM, the vulnerability of those online against viruses is strong. IM will increase the chances of file sharing not only from those at work but also from people outside work. Companies are also aware that IM may decrease the output of their employees. Even before you start looking for that software, check with the company policy to ensure you are doing the right thing.

When IM is installed in your computers, don’t think that you can just chat to any of your friends at work and say all you want. Be cautious on anything that you write since your employer will always have the ability to monitor your personal chat with your colleagues. To be safe, keep your transactions with any of your co-workers at a business level. Treat your IM as your “mini-mail”. Your chat is being recorded and it could be retrieved at will by your employer.

Responsible use of the “Status” in IMs should also be enforced in the office. Status may be disregarded when IM is being used at home but when you are at the office, you should make it a point to inform those who are interested in talking to you via IM if you’re busy or doing something. In return, if you see the status of your co-worker as “busy” you should respect them as they have respected your status.

Lastly, never chat with anyone that is not an employee of the company unless you’re told  by the upper management. You are not only cheating but you are also placing the company at great risk for viruses and even company secrets. Remember that your employer is monitoring everything you do and only time will tell when you will get caught talking to anyone outside the office.

Always remember that IM is a privilege given to you by your employers. That means they can take that away from you without even saying sorry. Be responsible in using the application and use it to increase productivity instead of placing the company at risk for viruses and unauthorized intrusions.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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