What's Up With WhatsApp?
- Date: Friday 24th August 2018
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It’s rapidly overtaking most other communication platforms: WhatsApp is a quick and cheap way of keeping in touch with friends and colleagues. The app, which enables users to set up closed communication groups, enables members to exchange messages in a secure forum via an internet connection, rather than over a phone network.
There has been a marked increase in the use of this medium in the workplace, as users take advantage of its messaging functionality:
- Groups are private – you decide who’s in and who’s out.
- You can set up different groups for different topics, avoiding information overload.
- Members of groups can communicate at the same time to all members of the same group. Nothing needs to be forwarded and conversations happen in real time.
- Much like a text message, you can choose to ignore messages and only check when it’s convenient.
- Unlike emails, messages tend to be short and snappy.
However, if you decide to utilise WhatsApp as a form of communication between your staff, please don’t forget that it comes with its own set of pitfalls:
- Make sure employees consent to being added to groups. Not everybody agrees with communicating in this way.
- Even if employees consent, keep an eye on the impact on their privacy. If they are using their own phone, they won’t be able to switch off when not at work or while on holiday. This may have a negative impact on their stress levels!
- Phone numbers are visible on WhatsApp. So, if the individual uses their private phone, you must advise them that this will be accessible to all members of the group.
- Watch out for bullying! It’s easy to wind up co-workers by sending comments or pictures. If the group is work related, you are responsible to follow up any allegations of bullying or harassment.
- Amend your IT policy to include WhatsApp, Signal or similar communication platforms.
Source: Manuela Grossmann, SSG