4 Tips for More Productive Group Messaging

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Group messaging apps are a blessing and a curse. It’s incredibly easy to get in contact with anyone on your team, but it’s also incredibly easy for any of them to contact you anytime. On average, Slack users spend 10 hours a day plugged in, and 140 minutes actively using Slack. The stats are probably similar for other messaging platforms. That’s way too much time spent messaging. It’s time to set some boundaries. Give these 4 tips for more productive group messaging a try, and recapture your team’s lost productivity.

1. Search first, ask later

One leading cause of employee burnout is the constant attention demands from coworkers. It doesn’t have to be this way — most requests don’t require a specific person, but rather their knowledge. Group messaging apps are full of tacit knowledge and most make it easy to search for that knowledge. Before you ask, you need to search. By searching before asking, you’re helping your team be more productive by limiting unnecessary distractions. If you really can’t find something, then it’s time to ask.

2. Match the message to the channel

88% of employees in our research agree that messaging apps are great for quick questions and one-liners, bot not much more. Make sure that your team is relying on chat’s strength to instantly reach out, without trying to make it into a forum for substantial conversations. Making sure to keep the conversations short in your team messaging app means that less time is spent reading long posts, and writing long replies. Sometimes it’s just more productive to have a video chat or walk down the hall to catch up in person.

3. Share the relevant content in the conversation

Asking a question about a document? Include the document in chat to make it easy to reference. Now your team won’t waste time trying to find the right file on the shared drive, or worse, find that file in their email. Most chat apps support some kind of threaded or contextual messaging to prevent this scenario — use it.

4. Set off hours

Nothing is worse than a needy message in off hours. You might be in the gym, watching the latest HBO blockbuster, or trying to grab some Zzz’s. Set the expectation that it’s ok to go into Do Not Disturb and get back to the message later. Being able to set flexible work hours, and turn off the office in between is a major key to boosting employee engagement and productivity.

That’s it. Put these 4 tips into practice and you’ll be on your way to group messaging nirvana, whether your team uses Slack, Hipchat, Workplace by Facebook, or something else.

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