Unlock Remote Work Success: Top IM Etiquette Tips You Need To Know

What is the proper Instant Messaging etiquette with remote teams? Instant messaging from remote workplaces is so common today that remembering life without it is often challenging. As a result, tools like TEAMS or Jabber have become critical communication solutions that support collaboration and team productivity in today’s remote work environments.

Even though these tools provide convenience, you must adopt a few considerations to avoid them from becoming distracting. Therefore, this post will cover some essential instant messaging etiquette for effective communication in your remote workplace.

Set Ground Rules Up Front

Instant messaging allows you to send messages to people in real-time. When doing so, two things may happen, an immediate response or the recipient will respond when they aren’t busy. Regardless, text tools have evolved into a significant source of distraction.

That’s because instant messaging tools have become a conduit for various purposes like games, announcements, sharing files, or asking quick questions. Unfortunately, these can quickly distract when people interrupt each other with requests or notifications.

Companies have found themselves implementing policies that help manage expectations using communication applications. For example, you can create small groups to keep personal discussions out of other work-related threads. Additional functionality includes indicating your availability and being upfront about the urgency of your message.

Proof-Read Before Sending

The immediate nature of texting via instant messaging and the average user being accustomed to using the tool for personal messages can make you overlook the significance of professionalism in workplace communications.

It would be best to habitually read and edit your messages before sending them. Reviewing spelling, grammar, and tone before hitting send can help eliminate embarrassing situations later. Remember that your message could interrupt a co-worker, so ensure it is clear and concise. You don’t want the recipient to spend extra time figuring out what you meant.

Understand Time Zones

You probably have remote co-workers working in different parts of the world and time zones. This means that your work hours will not match. So, another good habit is to consider your teammates’ time zones before sending a message.

As discussed earlier in this article, instant messaging creates a sense of urgency. This may pressure your remote co-worker into responding during their time, promoting an always-on culture that can quickly lead to burnout.

To remain productive with remote colleagues across time zones, you must be mindful of the time of day. Please resist the urge to send instant messages unless they are urgent. When possible, schedule your messages in advance to avoid interrupting your colleagues.

Alternatives to Instant Communications

Instant messaging or texting was intended for quick, brief exchanges, but it falls short when you need more in-depth conversations. So, if you have a more extended back-and-forth exchange or a challenge explaining something, it might be time to switch to another communication method.

Depending on the nature of your message, you might want to consider alternatives like audio or video conferencing. These tools are designed to convey longer messages better.

And as ancient as technology is, email can be a better option for specific conversations. It provides a written record that you can easily reference later on. In addition, the recipient can read and respond to your message at a time that suits them.

Know Your Audience – Time And Place

Hallway conversations have their place in remote workplaces. These chats can help build relationships and foster a sense of belonging among employees.

However, there should be specific channels for casual conversations and socializing, so you don’t disrupt your colleagues when focusing on their work. This way, they can join the conversation when they want and won’t feel they have to reply immediately.

So, when sending direct messages to your remote colleagues, especially during work hours, try to keep small talk to a minimum to respect their time and focus.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why is instant messaging etiquette important for remote work?

Instant messaging is one of the primary modes of communication in remote work. Proper etiquette ensures that communication is clear, concise, and respectful and helps to maintain a professional and positive work environment.

What are some examples of good instant messaging etiquette?

Some examples of good instant messaging etiquette include being mindful of tone, avoiding typos and grammatical errors, keeping messages concise and to the point, using appropriate language, responding promptly, and respecting others’ privacy and boundaries.

How can instant messaging etiquette differ across different cultures?

Instant messaging etiquette can differ across cultures, as different cultures may have varying norms around communication styles, tone, and use of language. It’s essential to be mindful of these differences and to adapt your messaging style accordingly when communicating with colleagues from different cultural backgrounds.

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  • Mike

    Drawing from almost 30 years of extensive experience as an IT executive leader in various verticals, including technology, energy, industrial, and food service, Mike Madole is now sharing his expertise through Madole Labs. Whether you're a seasoned IT professional or a tech hobbyist, Mike is dedicated to helping you achieve strategic direction, growth, and performance.

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