article_working_with_IMAre you avoiding instant messaging (IM) for fear that it will distract your employees and cut productivity? In fact, the opposite may be true.

What is IM?

IM is software that allows you to communicate in real time with other people who have the same software. It’s like email, but instantaneous.

IM was originally considered a way to stay in touch with friends and family, but lately it’s taken off in the workplace. That’s because IM offers a fast, convenient way for employees to interact with colleagues or clients in real time. In fact, many cutting-edge employers now encourage their employees to use IM instead of phone calls or e-mails.

Benefits include:

  • Increased productivity: Workers can remain at their workstations instead of walking across the office or picking up the phone to obtain information, and the need for time-consuming meetings is reduced.
  • Real-time communication with vendors and customers.
  • Connection of traveling employees through mobile devices.

Where can you get it?

While there are many free IM services available such as AOL, Yahoo!, Skype, and MSN, many companies now offer solutions specifically designed for business. We can work with you to determine the best solution for your specific needs

How to get started:

  1. Select a single provider.
  2. Expand services as needed. While basic IM may be adequate for some small businesses, others may benefit from expanded offerings, such as text conferencing, pop-up messaging, and email integration.
  3. Make sure your information is protected from external threats such as hackers and viruses.
  4. Create a usage policy to avoid internal misuse.
  5. Ensure that all employees know the rules and have installed the software on their systems.

To be effective, your IM application should be carefully integrated with your existing IT system and workflow. Give us a call today and we’ll help you through these steps to implement a secure and productive IM solution.

Published with permission from Source.