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IM at work

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
From www.cnn.com -

Survey: Forget work, IM is for flirting/gossip

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Flirting with colleagues, scheming against the boss and gossiping about co-workers are among the most common Instant Messenger, or IM, missives circulating around the office, according to a survey released this week.

So-called "IMing" -- the act of sending quick message exchanges to other Internet users -- has become a popular workplace pastime.

Just as they did with e-mail a few years ago, corporations have now embraced IM technology as it enables co-workers in large organizations to converse quickly and cheaply. But IM's popularity has its drawbacks, experts say.

Monitoring possible
Because many users believe it cannot be monitored by the boss, many freely fire off messages ranging from cruel cracks about a colleague's hair to sensitive information about major corporate projects.

"Businesses don't really monitor IMing," said Nigel Hawthorn, European marketing director for Blue Coat Systems, a Web security firm that conducted the survey of over 300 firms in the U.S. and Britain, the world's two largest IM markets.

The preponderance of personal chatter leaves companies open to sensitive corporate leaks and even lawsuits, Hawthorn said.

In the UK, 65 percent of the 204 respondents said they use IM for personal purposes during work hours, the survey said.

Half the UK respondents admitted to peppering their IMs with abusive language; 40 percent used IM to conspire on colleagues during conference calls and nearly one-third confessed to "making sexual advances" in the easily disguised dialogue box.

U.S. users more tame
U.S. respondents, meanwhile, gave more tame accounts of their IM usage. For example, less than one in five American survey participants said they used IM to comment on senior management or to flirt.

One explanation for the disparity is the Big Brother notion. Nearly 60 percent of British respondents did not believe or were unsure whether their IM conversations could be monitored by their employer while 71 percent of US respondents believed -- correctly -- that IM messages could be traced.


So do you have IM at work? What do you think of IM at work? Is it worth it for companies to allow/promote it?
post #2 of 8
I don't work for money being a stay at home mother so I IM at work alot

My husband's company has outlawed it. They also have numerous firewalls to prevent wasting time. His boss is not known to be the most relaxed man.
post #3 of 8
We have IM available to us but I choose not to use it. Too distracting to be interrupted with mostly frivolous messages while trying to get some work done.
post #4 of 8
IM is a huge part of the business that I'm in. The aspect of the music business that I'm in is all about information and in a timely manner. All of our clients are on IM as well as some of the radio folks we deal with.

I can multitask. If I'm on the phone with person A, he may say when does the such and such album come out? I simply IM the person at the appropriate label and I can have an answer for him within seconds. I don't need to hang up and place another call or put them on hold to go search down the answer.

We're all on in my company as well so that is our main way of communicating outside of emails. I don't find that I IM with friends during the day alot, most of my personal relationships aren't online during the day. I do IM with clients and co-workers nonstop but not all of it is business related. We certainly goof around on there as well but it's not something the boss would frown on, because part of the job I do, it develop relationships, we are encouraged to get beyond just the work parameters and get to know the people we deal with. So if my boss came in and caught me IMing with the atlantic guy about his kids, it wouldn't look bad.

I know that my company is unique, and while I'm not sure it would work for everyone, it certainly works for us.
post #5 of 8
I have all the IM programs downloaded on my comp (I downloaded them). My boss doesnt really care what we do on the internet as long as we get our work done (Its a very small office too, like 4 people).
post #6 of 8
I don't have 3 seconds to even sit at my desk. But, the school district would not approve of downloading an IM application.
post #7 of 8
My company forbids internet use, even though we have access. They've told us if you get on it, they can terminate you. Personally, I dont see anything wrong with internet or IM usage, as long as you are not abusing it, and you are doing your job & getting things done. Of course, it's the ones who screw around with it, and ruin it for others.
post #8 of 8
Yes, I use IM at work and I must admit, I use it primarily for personal reasons (to talk to friends and family outside of the company). I do NOT use it for malicious purposes but, I think the article is right... the reason being that MAYBE it can be traced. Besides, at work, you never know who actually has SAVED the IM!
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