Ready or not, there is a change afoot in the way communication takes place within a company. It is a radical change that will impact everything from security, to regulatory compliance. It will also alter the workflow of everyone from the CEO, to the Project Managers, to the people who work in the mailroom (assuming your company still has one of those).
The change from email to chat is as fundamental as the change from printed, interoffice memos to email. As with that change, the same generational wars will happen, and already are. Younger workers will quickly gravitate to the new thing which mirrors what they are already doing in their personal lives. It is important to note that even the printed memo was the equivalent to handwriting a letter. It is all about what people know and are comfortable with.
Today’s workers under 55 are increasingly more comfortable with the speed and casual nature of instant messaging. However, companies are often run by people older than that. Like it or not, the change is coming to a corporate culture near you. Here’s why that change is a good thing:
Chat Offers More Productivity Features than Email
Email is static text with linked attachments. The premiere business chat clients offer features such as:
- Group chat
- File transfer
- Screen Sharing
- Multiple language translation support
- Private chat and more…
Email is a workable tool if all you want to share is static text, and maybe a photo. But with email, there is a lot of baggage attached to sharing more than text. Professional chat clients have jettisoned most of that baggage. One of the major pieces of that baggage is security.
Chat Is More Secure than Email
Your email address is an open invitation to anyone with toxic waste they are looking to dump. It is the perfect security hole that can never be patched. You get an email from a friend or colleague with an attachment that needs your immediate attention. You click it because you have no reason to suspect foul play. But there is a greater than 50% chance that the attachment is a lead box containing kryptonite.
Corporate chat is more secure if for no other reason than you are chatting with people who are a part of the closed network. Furthermore, they need to be in your group. There is much less chance of someone getting in and masquerading as someone else.
Email is so dangerous, conventional wisdom is to never open an email attachment. That greatly hampers what is possible with corporate communications. Chat is a form of communication you don’t have to be afraid of.
Chat Is Faster than Email
Start with the Subject line, then… No, wait… Sorry. Start with the Recipient line. Fill that in. Double check to make sure you have the right person. Then go to the next line to include recipients of the carbon copy or blind carbon copy (CC, BCC). Honestly, you know your method of communication is out of date when the metaphor is carbon paper. There is a good chance that half the people in your office don’t even know what that is.
Now, write your salutation. Then carefully compose the message. Note, you don’t just write a corporate email. You compose it. Include your sign off and contact information. Then your done. Wait for the person to get around to checking their email. And hope for a carefully composed answer by close of business the next day.
Or, you could use a corporate IM client that does away with all of that. Select the person or group you want to chat with. Drop a few characters in the text box. The words don’t even have to be completely spelled out, real words. Wait a few seconds for a reply, also with incomplete words. And you’re done! Chat is faster and less disruptive on every level.
So whether it be for the added productivity features, the security, the speed, or just because it is what the majority of workers are most comfortable with, your business is eventually going to ditch email for chat. Get ready!