Monday, September 17, 2007

IM in the Workplace

I guess I've finally joined the 21st century. We use Instant Messaging in the workplace at my new employer. I'm not a big fan of IM, since it seems to me to combine the worst features of phone calls and email, without their respective advantages. Few things are more tedious than staring at your computer screen, waiting for your correspondent to finish typing a message.

The major use of it seems to be to multi-task during conference calls. That has its place occasionally, of course ("I know u r on a call, but get off and meet me in the war room, we've got a production outage!"). But maybe I'm just a dummy, but as soon as I get sucked into an IM exchange, I tune out of the conference call. If the call is a waste of my time, that could be good, but if it isn't, I may wind up wasting everybody else's time asking for repeats. Conference calls are painful and inefficient enough, without IM making them worse.

A frequent secondary usage of IM'ing is within a conference call. This I find more useful. Typical case is a boss to employee: "I know you are right, but they're not getting it. Try explaining more slowly."

A tertiary usage that I find especially convenient is posting one's status and contact info. I typically work from home 2 days/week, so I update my IM status line to say "TUE: Work from home. Home office 999-999-9999."

1 comment:

  1. Ha, welcome to the 21st century. I've never understood your skepticism about workplace IM. I dread the day I have to go to work for a company where communicating by IM is not standard!!