In May, ReportLinker conducted a survey among 513 workers in the US to answer three questions:

  • In which sector do people use instant messaging tools the most?
  • What are the most popular ones and why?
  • Do employees trust their privacy settings?

According to the survey results, which have been published this week, only 19% of respondents prefer face-to-face communication when discussing something at work. And 50% prefer emails.

However, 43% of people use instant messaging tools in their company, including, not surprisingly, 71% who work in the tech industry. The most used software is Skype (29% ), followed by Facebook Messenger (22%), Lync (19%), and Slack (5%) . Inside international organisations, messaging tools are used by 62% of the workforce.


Better collaboration

Efficiency (22%) and team collaboration (14%) are the biggest drivers of instant messaging adoption. Among heavy users, 45% say they’re more productive with instant messaging. 14% say it helps them reduce the volume of emails, while 12% liked the flexibility, and 10% said the tools were easy to use.

ReportLinker’s co-founder, Benjamin Carpano, told MARGINALIA: “Using instant messsaging apps can be beneficial to a company and facilitate communication among employees. It reduces the amount of emails, and permits to receive an answer quickly when struggling with an issue.It also allows employees to have less formal conversations, it can create a better team spirit, and reinforce their relationships”.

Privacy concerns

Among the main drawbacks, however, is the pressure to respond immediately, which is cited by 24% of respondents.  The lack of privacy is also a concern, with 57% of workers believing there’s no guarantee workplace conversations will remain private on such tools.

Carpano concludes: “Using enterprise-grade apps ensures privacy settings are respected and employers are aware of the different communication options available withing the app. Consumer apps can present privacy risks and this is why passwords or highly confidential information shouldn’t be shared on these platforms.”