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Submitted by kylejwx on
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I'd like to start a discussion about the pros and cons of text messaging as a form of communication used in the workplace. Generally, I'm not in favor of texting for work, but I want to keep an open mind. One factor to consider is what we learn from DiSC about people's preferred communication styles. I can certainly say that texting is not my preferred communication method and it's not as effective as other forms of communication for me. There are many reasons for this. One is that I receive email notifications on my phone and my computer. Text messages are generally only on my phone so there's actually a lower chance of getting ahold of me via text message. Also, I try to follow the MT advice about inbox zero so I have a good strategy for processing incoming mail. Text messages are much easier to be forgotten.

However, I'm trying to balance the fact that other people seem to think that text messaging is an effective form of communication for them. Should I try to go along with text messaging for the sake of effectiveness with these individuals?

One hesitation I have with texting is that it seems people use text messages as an attempt to indicate that something is urgent. I struggle with that because they're basically saying that all the other tasks I'm working on (including those for other people) are lower priority than what they are asking about. If it is a true priority, I would prefer that they just call me.

Finally I have concerns about the security issues and potential privacy / HR issues. For example, a text that says "What is the Wi-Fi password?" or "This employee was terminated, can you turn off their email?"

How should I respond to people who continue to text me?

theresaja's picture
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Hi kylejwx,

Let coworkers know your preferred communication methods and that you like urgent communications by phone call.  You can do this in normal conversations or in [peer] one-on ones.

"....It was nice talking with you today.  Say, if you need anything from me urgently please call me.  Other wise email is fine.  I worry about missing texts."

That way you've given them permission to interrupt you by phone.  I've noticed I will get text or email requests asking if my co-workers can call me.  I'd prefer they just call me, so I can answer if I'm available.  Or call back if I'm not available.  

 

You can create a template response to any texts that direct them to expect an email response such as:

"I'll email you my response.  Or call me if you're not able to access email and need a response right away."  

Then in your email you may advise if you think the subject requires higher security than texts allow.

My company uses Microsoft Teams and Outlook email.  Teams provides "coordinated" communication tools including chat, calls, video calls, etc.  It's chat feature is similar to texting, but it will send you a notification and an email if co-workers are trying to reach you.  I haven't mastered it's systems, but our accounting department an one of my directs have found it very helpful for interdepartmental communication.  The only glitch is the app needs to be opened before it can provide notices, just like you can't get emails if you haven't turned on your email app. 

I hope this helps. 

Oakleys's picture

I agree with this as well. I dislike private text messages becuase they become lost communications should any records be neccessay in the future. Also, I mute my phone so only contacts on my emergency bypass give notifications. It is also much easier to have group chats in Teams vs SMS or text, especially when some have iPhone and others Android. Bottom line, I believe work communications should be on work platform (teams / email) and save private / personal chats for text / SMS

LEmerson's picture

I'd recommend to discuss it and come to a consensus among the people you're in contact with. You could have two or three different levels of comfort with technology among your coworkers. I'm an old fart and there have been a couple times I worked with younger people and I was out of the loop because I wasn't comfortable using the phone so much. I started using it and it wasn't that difficult. If you can find out where everybody is it shouldn't be too difficult to agree on preferred methods.

KenCara68's picture

One note of caution here is data protection and your privacy. I have known of a number of times people had to turn their personal chats over due to workplace investigations. Best using Teams or at least a work phone for me!