Tekno Solutions (instant Messaging)

by : Chris Smith (The TeknoCoach)

What does intra-office communication look like in your workplace?
Are employees standing around waiting to speak to one another? Are there too many interruptions of important meetings, discussions, and phone calls? Or has communication become so impersonal that you're sending emails to the person who sits next to you to ask simple questions?
Technology is a wonderful conduit for communication, but it should never be used as a buffer (in other words, nothing beats good ol' talking). There is, however, a solution that helps streamline intra-office communication while maintaining active conversations... instant messaging.
There are many instant messaging solutions available, almost all of them are free of charge. Here are a few of the most popular:
- AIM® (AOL® Instant Messenger)
- Windows Live Messengerk
- Yahoo!®
There are a few risks in using this solution. Mainly, you're opening up some of your communication to the external world (this traffic is going over the public Internet), but that's really not a significantly greater risk than talking on the phone (particularly if the phone traffic is going outside of your private company switch). You're also taking on some risk that the tool will be abused by employees (for instance, talking to a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse at some other location), but if that's a real risk for you, the root problem probably exists whether you're using instant messaging or not.
The main benefit is the ability to actively and professionally communicate with colleagues and employees with little interruption to other ongoing communication. Imagine being able to flag one of your employees down to retrieve some information while you're on an important conference call (without having to place the conference on-hold or run down the hall, abandoning the call temporarily). Or imagine the ability to ask simple questions of a colleague (that really don't merit interruption and that can be easily fielded) while he/she is on a conference call. You can find a wide variety of applications of constructive instant messaging in the office.