I was on the phone with a friend of mine the other day, telling her about the new Hammock.com and offering to send her a couple of quick links to different sections if she’d give me her new IM username (she’s a late adopter). That, of course, would be the fastest, most instant way to get the links to her.
“IM?!” she exclaimed. “I’m at work; my boss would kill me if I logged into my instant messenger here!”
How 1998.
Are we at Hammock in the minority because we use IM in our daily tasks? Are other companies missing out on a great communications tool if they’re not? I think so, on both accounts.
Using IM in the workplace has several advantages, one of which is knowing that my colleagues are only a click away. It’s fast, simple, real-time and free. Instead of getting distracted for 10 minutes in the breakroom talking about headlines, we can brainstorm together for 30 seconds over IM and achieve the same results.

And the rest of the Hammock team tend to agree:

  • Ben: I love IM. I use it for all types of things. I like it for quick messages much more than email because you can have instant interaction with people right from your desk. And you can send files over IM. I love that aspect of it.
  • Bill: I use it to alert designers to needed changes, especially if they are last minute and I am not sure the designer will check an email; to tell designers of copy being ready for layout; for them to ask me to look at layouts. Barbara M. in production and I use it to stay updated on progress, check deadlines, advertising and so on.
  • Barbara M.: I was late to use it because I thought that email would work. I don’t use it to communicate with friends, just coworkers. I use it at work for stuff not email-worthy.
  • Megan G.: I use IM to communicate with coworkers when I have a quick question or thought that is too informal or time-sensitive for email, and when getting up and walking down the hall would take too long. What I love about it: Quick and efficient way to communicate about a cut-and-dried issue, can have quick conversations with people and not disturb others by talking around their space, don’t have to pick up the phone to call down the hall. Overall, I love IM. I think the trick is learning when to use it.
  • Barbara L.: I use it to get a quick response on an issue rather than sending an email. I also use it when I’m on a call and need an answer asap. I do use it instead of picking up the phone because it feels quicker, simpler and more efficient. Often times I’ll be going back and forth with someone and then I will stop and realize it is a conversation better had in person. I’ll stop and walk over to their desk to discuss.
  • Laura: I love IM. I use it far too much. I don’t find it useful for long conversations, though it’s easy to fall into one. It’s especially handy for sending URLs and images back and forth to check progress or solicit comments on a project. Part of why I enjoy using IM so much is that I’m a fairly fast typist, and I can pretty much keep up with my thoughts as I type. (Thank you Mrs. Bolton, in 11th grade typing class!) But the biggest work reason to use it is this: I think it helps keep me on task. That may sound counter-intuitive to those who find constant IM messages distracting, but I find it easy to IM an answer a colleague’s question, or get an answer to my own, and get right back into my workflow. It’s much less disruptive than the telephone or an in-person chat.
  • John: For quick discussions with colleagues. I am old and prefer the method of walking over to people and talking to them directly. Some people seem quicker to respond via IM and I’m starting to notice that in some instances, it’s less disruptive to IM vs. dropping by.
  • Emily: I use it to ask co-workers a quick question; I even use it to communicate with clients occasionally. It makes it easy to say that you’re away for lunch, running a quick errand or out of the office without having to notify everyone. And it allows you to multitask: You can ask a question and do something else while waiting for the answer. It is also an easy way to communicate without bothering or interrupting someone from their work. It definitely helps me get more down in a quicker amount of time!
  • Julia: The only way I use it at work is to talk to folks in the front of the office. And that’s only occasionally. It does save time, but I like to make personal visits. It doesn’t intimidate me but it does aggravate me if someone, usually a friend, wants to chat. I don’t have a lot of time for chatting!
  • Kerri: I love it! Quick responses on things. No need to go and bother someone with my presence. I love it for getting a song from friends.
  • Lynne: I use it mainly to ask quick questions. It shortens the amount of time required to discuss something.
  • Natalie: I don’t use it much, a few times per day. I do use it instead of the phone unless it starts to get wordy. It’s faster than email so it works for quicker responses, but sometimes I lose the text accidentally. Overall, I could live without it.
  • Jamie: I use IM to query Summer on grammar questions at least once a week. And if I’m writing an email and just need one more little fact before I press send, it’s awesome to be able to IM and get the information quickly. Funny links sent via IM can also add a little much-needed levity to stressful days.

If you wanna talk about it more, IM me.