Move over emails, intranets, and bulletin boards. Businesses have started using enterprise instant messaging tools like Slack and Yammer in their daily workplace communication.

The importance of instant messaging for businesses with non-desk employees

Move over emails, intranets, and bulletin boards. Businesses have started using enterprise instant messaging tools like Slack and Yammer in their daily workplace communication. But it’s only the desk-based workers who are part of this network. And the benefits go largely to them. Nothing surprising here. These tools were built by office workers for office workers. A large chunk of non-desk workers (read blue-collared workers, frontline staff etc.) are still not looped in properly.

Non-desk workers don’t have corporate email addresses and are not a part of the instant messaging network for business, making communication with them broken and slow. Around 45% of non-desk workers don’t have intranet access and 83%, corporate email address. Slowly but surely, such instances break their trust and kill their motivation. No wonder non-desk employees have a pretty high turnover rate.

This combination of broken communication and staff turnover hits the sacred bottom line hard. Lost productivity costs due to disengaged workforce in the US lies between $483bn and $605bn. Now that’s a reality check! Non-inclusivity doesn’t pay.

It’s actually silly not to care about properly communicating with your non-desk workers. In industries where they form a major share, many of them interact directly with customers. And research has shown that disengaged employees lead to unhappy customers. And when one considers the fact that 80% of the global workforce is deskless today, it is clear that keeping them in the know is no longer an option; it is vital. Rather, it is common sense.

Expanding the loop with instant messaging for business

The time is right for businesses to loop their non-desk workers into enterprise instant messaging. We have the apt tech in place today and the premise is perfect as well. Smartphone penetration is at an all-time high. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming the norm. Consumer communication apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are used by one and all. The non-desk workforce sure has the ‘means’ (smartphones and other digital devices) and the ‘motive’ (need to be informed) but not the ‘message’ (inclusive and instant communication).

All businesses need are instant messaging apps for business communication that are far more inclusive and that loop in the non-desk workforce. Enterprise instant messaging apps that cut across all levels in an organization, from the CEO to the concierge. So that non-desk workers, just like their desk colleagues, are regularly updated about the latest in policy changes, company news, and more. This makes 74% of them, who feel consistent messages from senior management are important to them, delighted.

How does instant messaging increase business productivity?

Employee trust, productivity, and motivation get a boost; team-building and compliance turn stronger; and the non-desk workforce doesn’t feel left out. For businesses, it means greater retention of non-desk employees and lesser miscommunication costs to incur.

And of course, happier customers. A win-win formula for sure!

Bringing the change

Despite its pluses, there are businesses averse to instant messaging for business communication even today. They still prefer to communicate with non-desk employees through bulletin boards, sticky notes, and sporadic calls — or through just a holler across the room. It’s more of a mindset problem, really. They are worried about security: “What if he quits and takes company data with him?” They are unsure about what to communicate: “Is it essential to inform the delivery guy about a change in company policy?” They are doubtful of the reception: “Will the office janitor read all messages sent to him?”

Leadership should drive the change. Unless the CXOs actively participate and lead by example, these barriers will persist. They need to spread the word about the benefits of instant messaging for business communication and make it the new cool. The C-suite should also bring in stronger compliance and ensure only relevant communication reaches the non-desk workers. Likewise, the CIOs should see to it that the tool they use is robustly secure and seamlessly compatible with multiple devices. Doesn’t really take magic, you see.

It’s only today that we are talking about employee communication in terms of desk and non-desk workers. The lines between desk and non-desk are fast blurring. The future will see seamless communication among all employees, desk or non-desk, and there won’t be any need to write articles as this. Enterprise instant messaging will rule the roost.

Groupe.io is a solid start to the trend. It enables enterprise instant messaging and is a boon for businesses with a large number of non-desk workers. It’s easy, effective, and engaging. And strongly secure at the same time. But the best part? Everyone, and we mean everyone, is looped in.