● By Siew Ching
Ping, ping, ping – read this first before you hit that blue button.
Forgot Zoom or Teams. The most used app for the workplace? Definitely WhatsApp. Don’t believe us. Take a look at your WhatsApp chat groups. How many of those are for work? We’re willing to bet you have quite a number that you use actively to send messages, update your team, and even share documents across.
No doubt, WhatsApp can be a powerful and convenient tool for the workplace. Everyone uses it and it’s instant. Traditionally, using an informal platform like WhatsApp would be frowned upon before but because it is the quickest way to disseminate information or get the answers you need ASAP, WhatsApp has become the unofficial must-have app for work.
And like everything else, there are a few rules you need to follow, especially if using for work. Here are some etiquette rules to think about:
#1 No late-night messages
Late-night banter with friends, OK. Late-night messages to delegate work to the intern or junior? Not cool. You wouldn’t arrange to have a meeting at 9pm on a Wednesday so the same rules apply for WhatsApp. You don’t talk about work after office hours (unless of course it’s an emergency and by emergency we mean real ones like things that really need to be resolved before heads roll on the floor). Keep your messages about work only during work hours.
#2 Post only work-related stuff
Nobody wants to hear a ping during an important meeting from their WhatsApp work chat group only to find out it’s a meme or a forwarded many times message. Trust me, they’ve seen it in their other chat groups amongst friends. You don’t want to be that person who forwards spam in a work chat group! It shows that you’re unprofessional and don’t take work all that seriously. The rule is simple here: WhatsApp groups for work should be restricted to work-related conversations. Avoid jokes, politics, chain forwards – even if everyone is on friendly, casual terms with one another in the group. The biggest no? Gossip. And you know those good morning greetings or have a good weekend guys? It’s OK, you can leave it out too.
#3 Patience when waiting for a reply
We get it, you want an answer pronto. And you know your colleague has seen the message (there’s a double blue tick symbol next to it!). But before you send a message asking for a reply again just two minutes after you did the first one, give it some time. Your colleague could be driving or in an important meeting and therefore can’t get back to you ASAP. And being naggy or impatient about it won’t look good on you.
#4 Keep your messages short and sweet
That’s really what WhatsApp should be for. Quick messages that don’t require a lengthy reply. Use the chat groups for quick updates. If you really need more info, that’s what emails and phone calls are for.
#5 Do not use WhatsApp as a reminder tool
You know those messages… “Hey, I sent you an email. Can you please check?”. Or “hey I need you to look at that document I left on your table.” Again, WhatsApp should be used for quick updates or to send info to the entire team in a single platform. Not something you should use to share a cropped image of your email that needs to be replied.
#6 Be careful of what you say!
You may think it’s harmless to pass a comment about a client or an ex-colleague. But what you consider harmless could be sexist, racist or just plain rude to others. The worst thing? Someone might just screenshot your comment, show it to a higher up, and there goes your chances of a promotion – or even lose your job over it! Posting slurs or comments in a work WhatsApp group is just plain ignorant. Keep your personal views to yourself and always keep your language professional in the group.
What other tips do you have about WhatsApp for work? Share them with us on Twitter @Graduan!
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash.
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