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Slack may be on a tear, but it still has a perception gap to fill: a recent survey from Robert Half Technology finds that both CIOs and employees feel that email and in-person meetings are more effective for daily communications at work than instant messaging (IM).

For CIOs, email is the most effective method (41%), followed by in-person meetings (22%) and then instant messaging (13%). The largest share of employees, meanwhile, put in-person meetings on top (37%), with email (27%) following and instant messaging (19%) next.

Notably, a strong majority (73%) of CIOs believe that email will be the most common way for employees to communicate internally in 3 years’ time. Employees themselves are in agreement, though not with the same level of consensus: a bare majority (53%) feel that email will be the most common.

Among those skeptical of email’s leading role in 3 years’ time, instant messaging is the favored to take its place, particularly by employees.

That’s likely due to IM already having quite an influence with employees: more than one-quarter (28%) said they use it most for day-to-day communication with colleagues. While that trails email (45%), it’s ahead of in-person communications (16%) and the phone (11%).

Instant Messaging Etiquette

Instant messaging is considered a speedier way than email to communicate with colleagues: three-quarters of employees surveyed feel more pressure to respond immediately to IM than email. Moreover, 90% expect an answer more immediately with IM than with email when contacting a colleague.

Interestingly, almost two-thirds (65%) have received an instant message even when they have their status to “do not disturb” or “busy.” This doesn’t seem to bother them too much; respondents noted a mix of relief when the request is important, annoyance, and neutrality.

Younger employees seem the least phased by this potential intrusion: only 23% of 18-34-year-olds feel annoyed when they receive a message while they have their status set to “do not disturb” or “busy.” That’s compared to more than one-third of employees ages 35 and older.

Moreover, 18-34-year-olds are the most likely to say they’d send a message even if the person has such a status set. Roughly one-quarter (26%) said they would, since the colleague could always ignore it. By comparison, just 14% of respondents ages 35-54 and 11% of those ages 55 and older would take such liberties.

About the Data: The Robert Half Technology data is based on a survey of more than 2,500 CIOs across 25 metropolitan areas and 1,000 US workers ages 18 and up employed in office environments.

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