IM In The Work Place

ScienceDaily (Jun. 4, 2008) — Employers seeking to decrease interruptions may want to have their workers use instant messaging software, a new study suggests. A recent study by researchers at Ohio State University and University of California, Irvine found that workers who used instant messaging on the job reported less interruption than colleagues who did not.

The study challenges the widespread belief that instant messaging leads to an increase in disruption. Some researchers have speculated that workers would use instant messaging in addition to the phone and e-mail, leading to increased interruption and reduced productivity.

Instead, research showed that instant messaging was often used as a substitute for other, more disruptive forms of communication such as the telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face conversations. Using instant messaging led to more conversations on the computer, but the conversations were briefer, said R. Kelly Garrett, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State. (Full Story at sd)

I happen to use Gtalk at work. Even though my co-workers sit within earshot of me, I would rather instant message them. It also comes in handy when you want to ask a question when you are on the phone with someone. There is also the added bonus of being able to vent frustrations without having to worry about someone overhearing.