The Dos And Don’ts Of The Office Chat Channel

These days, working in an office often means using an online messaging service for general office chat. It makes it easy to drop your colleagues a quick line, can be good for group messaging, or just to ask a simple question. Whether you’re using Slack, Skype, Nice Chat, Google Hangouts, whatever, the rules are always pretty much the same.

When you were set up with your account, you were probably then left to your own devices to navigate it. We doubt you’re given a list of what is and isn’t appropriate, so consider this your refresher course.

DO: Be mindful of the channel’s purpose

Probably the most important rule when it comes to using the office chat is to know what channel you’re in, and what it’s for. Each channel has a purpose, and should give you a pretty clear indication of what’s going on inside.

So it makes sense that “Project Updates” is probably not the place for you to unload a bunch of pictures of golden retrievers (put those in the “Doggos” channel).

Honestly, if they’re mad about it, it’s a problem they need to deal with. But in saying that, it might come off as a tad unprofessional or spammy.

DON’T: Use it like Facebook

When you’re friends with your colleagues, it can be pretty tempting to just chat about your day or gossip with your mates, but we say resist the urge.

Similarly, don’t take to public channels to share with the company pics of your daughter’s first soccer game. Nobody needs to endure that kind of torture.

DO: Know when it’s better to swap to email

Communicating on office chat to discuss important, work-related stuff is fine, and totally what it’s designed for. But it’s important to know when it’s something that you should take it to email.

Email is not only a more professional mode of communication, but it makes it much easier to keep a paper trail. So, instead of aimlessly scrolling through your chats to try and locate an important memo from your boss, just search your email and find it so much quicker.

DON’T: Talk smack in a public channel

Pretty straightforward: talk shit get hit. Kidding, but it pays to keep your wits about you.

Now, we are not endorsing gossip on the office chat whatsoever, but we could tell you to not to do it, and chances are that it’ll happen anyway. We will however tell you some reasons why you should avoid it.

Your boss most likely can access your chat channels should they want to. It’s trickier with some channel platforms than others, but use the chat like your manager could potentially read your messages if they wanted to.

But honestly, the best piece of advice we could give is to not say anything in the chat that you’re not willing to back up IRL, or just wait until you’re out of the office. Choose a bar or café away from work so you can debrief after-hours without being worried of falling victim to collected receipts.

DO: Know when to communicate in person

Incessant back and forth chat can sometimes be tiring, boring, intense, so know when to take your communication into the physical realm. Sometimes it’s nice to talk to real humans in person anyway.

If it’s an emergency or you need immediate feedback on something, don’t nervously look at your computer, tapping your foot waiting for a response. It might be time to stand up, walk over to your colleague and have a chat to them.

Similarly, don’t let it be an introvert’s saving grace – it’s important to chat IRL, too.

DON’T: Spend all your time on it

Have you ever sat back and honestly evaluated how much time you spend chatting to your colleagues on a daily basis? Scary, huh?

An office chat channel is a tool that designed to assist you with work, not distract you from it. So we suggest using it as sparingly as possible without it affecting your job.

Also, know when to log off. Unless your job requires you to, there’s no reason to be on chat or checking in after work hours or on the weekend. Know when to chill, dudes.

Now that you’re all clued up, you’ll know to use the office chat a little more wisely.

(Lead Image: The Office) 

Bradley is a writer from regional NSW and he didn’t come here to make friends, he came to win. He tweets infrequently to his 43 followers @bradjohnston_.