Email Considered More Effective Than IM for Workplace Communications

August 10, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Email | Social Media

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.


Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This