Instant messaging has been perceived as a productivity killer tool for a long time. A recent study shows that it is not the case and can actually reduce workplace interruption.
Science Daily covers a new study from Ohio State University and University of California. The study suggests that employers seeking to decrease interruptions may want to have their workers use instant messaging software.
Kelly Garret, co-author of the study says: “We found that the effect of instant messaging is actually positive. People who used instant messaging reported that they felt they were being interrupted less frequently.”
Unlike phone, email and face-to-face meeting in your co-worker office, instant messaging provides presence and status indications that proves very useful to choose the best time to interrupt them. Garret says: “We find that employees are quite strategic in their use of instant messaging. They are using it to check in with their colleagues to find out if they’re busy before interrupting them in a more intrusive way,”
This is something we have seen from the field at ProcessOne when developing our corporate instant messaging client OneTeam. We decided that productivity was the main driver for instant messaging adoption in the workplace. We decided to focus our effort on special unique productivity features that allow users to have a better control on their status through different presence indication for different groups of contact at the same time. Depending on what you are doing you can be available for a group of co-workers but busy for others. A single status presence indicator is too limiting to correctly reflect user availability. With OneTeam client, you can even control from which contacts you want to receive messages immediately and have the other messages be delayed until you switch back to a more open work situation.
Instant Messaging deployments in the enterprise can become a powerful new tool to boost your teams productivity in the corporate world.
Reference article: Ohio State University. “Instant Messaging Proves Useful In Reducing Workplace Interruption.” ScienceDaily 4 June 2008. 5 June 2008 .