Workplace chat groups can be useful and fun, but they are also risky at times – blurring the line between work and play. How to use WhatsApp professionally?
It’s 9 pm, you’ve had a busy day, and you’ve finally made it to the sofa – Netflix it is.
Ping, ping. Your phone lights up.
It’s your boss, asking if someone could send him that important email once more; he can’t find it in his inbox. Since no one else responds, you sacrifice yourself. It only takes you two minutes, but still you find yourself being annoyed.
Workplace chat groups can be a fun and informal way to keep in touch with your coworkers but as most of us know, at times they can be challenging and invasive too.
Here are some key pointers on using WhatsApp professionally.
Bigger companies sometimes have internal policies regarding the use of social media and instant messaging services, but for most start-ups and scale-ups, this won’t be the case.
How to behave in a workplace chat group and what language to use will largely depend on your company’s culture.
If you’re new at a company and you’re added to the workplace chat group, observe how your new team members communicate with each other – before sending pictures of your cat or asking where the Friday drinks are at. You can learn a great deal from that.
Are people formal and aloof? Or are they making jokes all the time? Just watch and learn, you don’t have to participate immediately.
Give and take
We all know how invasive workplace group chats can be. If you’re someone who’s prone to suffer from information overload, start with muting the chat and only read the messages at a time that suits you well.
As for CEOs that text you late at night and during weekends: set your personal limits. CEOs sometimes tend to explore their team members’ limits, so why not tell your boss that you’re more than willing to respond to messages, but only if they’re really urgent.
That having said, if we want it or not, we are all part of a fast paced world – and it keeps on getting faster and faster. The concept of ‘working nine to five’ has long been outdated. If your boss gives you the flexibility to work from home or go to dentist appointments during working hours – sometimes that means sending an email during the weekends.
It’s a matter of give and take. If you start feeling that it’s whole lotta giving and not so much taking – talk to your CEO or HR department.
Just be yourself
Most importantly, just be yourself in your workplace chat group. If telling bad jokes is a thing in your chat group but you don’t feel comfortable with it, don’t tell bad jokes. And if you feel like sharing a great professional success, just share it.
There’s no real right or wrong here – unless when it comes to complaining about your demanding CEO with your coworkers. Always double check what chat you’re typing in.