The chances are, your staff are using WhatsApp for work related chat – which is not a good idea!

July 27, 2022

Internal business communication is a key functional aspect of today’s offices. You can’t leave your cubicle to walk up to your teammate’s desk every time you have a query. And if you are still using emails for internal conversations, then you are not using email for its original intended purpose. The trouble is, email, whilst still absolutely essential has become left behind when compared to frequently used tools such as WhatsApp & Messenger.

A digital platform where instant interaction is facilitated is much appreciated and almost a necessary requirement for the modern workspace. While IM & Chat is a well-seasoned technology in our personal lives – instant messaging applications tailored especially for professional communication are in their infancy . One could argue that Slack & MS Teams do the job well enough, but the multitude of channels offered by Slack’s format can make direct messaging confusing, to say the least. Many end users simply don’t adopt the platform.

Human nature is to simply follow the path of least resistance, thus falling back to good old WhatsApp with its trusted speed and ease of communication. Facebook – the organisation that owns the IM app recognises this and has even launched a business counterpart for the messaging app, WhatsApp Business last year. This is very much aimed at sole traders, and not the enterprise market. However, research conducted into the issue has yielded that although a good number of individuals use WhatsApp for communicating at work – they’d prefer an alternative messaging solution. Email & Slack (or Teams/Skype etc) don’t provide your workforce with the tools they need to collaborate effectively.

Using WhatsApp for professional reasons is against the law

If you refer to the Terms and Conditions of WhatsApp, you will find that it explicitly states that using the messaging app for any non-personal use is prohibited. Yet, close to 500 million use it daily for professional reasons.

It becomes imperative under such regulations to search out another platform that facilitates communication and collaboration between departments at work.

Reasons why you shouldn’t be using WhatsApp for business collaboration:

  • It was designed to be a personal messaging app – Everything from the UI to the features offered by WhatsApp shouts informal. It doesn’t really provide a professional mindspace that you can use for workplace networking. One minute you’re using the app to text your BFF, the other you’re using it to discuss the project you’re working on with your team lead. It becomes difficult to separate home-life and work-life, interfering with your work-life balance.

  • It isn’t General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant – WhatsApp is unable to adequately protect corporate data. Sure, the app doesn’t store your messages on its server but it does store your device contacts irrespective of whether the person on your contact list has the app installed on their phone or not. You try deleting personal identifiable information about a client from a member of staff’s WhatsApp account who has left your business!

  • You require an individual’s phone number to add them to your network – While this isn’t much of a concern as such, it can get a little uncomfortable to ask your co-workers for something as personal as their phone numbers. An e-mail, however, is much easier to obtain and carries less import than asking for a phone number.

  • You can’t keep a tab on who has read your message in a group chat – Say, you were having a professional discussion with your team members on a group chat, you wouldn’t be able to tell who all have read it and who haven’t. That is only possible in a personal chat.

  • You may not specifically know who you’re interacting with in a group chat – So you’ve been inducted into your company WhatsApp group but you are too new to have gathered the numbers of all your office peers. The result is, contacts that you can’t put a name or face to. Things get even more complicated if they don’t have a personal display picture and choose to show off their beloved pet dog instead. While you may be successful in guessing the identity of a few of them correctly, chances are that it wouldn’t be possible for most. Either way, it isn’t a very feasible option for professional communication. Add to that, if an employee has changed their number recently, they will still be receiving all the messages of your company group on their old number unless the admin removes his/her number individually. If it happens that the number is now being used by another person, this person will have access to all the company information being discussed in the group chat. Its simply unmanageable. In fact, there is no ability to manage anything!

  • You can’t be sure if your message was deleted – Although, WhatsApp did roll out a feature in 2017 allowing users to delete the messages they’ve sent, the app’s FAQ doesn’t clearly specify the reach of this feature. If you committed a gaffe by sending the message intended for your boyfriend to your boss – there’s no way to save face, really.

  • The data privacy offered by WhatsApp is decidedly weak – WhatsApp has no safeguards in place to secure sensitive company data that may be discussed on its channels. When you use WhatsApp for work communication, you’re inevitably opening up the company to information theft and security lapses. Just google the privacy scruples of Facebook and we leave you to make your own minds up this!

Why not use other unified communications/collaboration tools?

Think Microsoft Teams and Slack. Unified communications tools such as these are usually more complicated in how they function and a natural deterrent for new users. WhatsApp with its simple user experience is popular for this very reason. Additionally, sharing digital content over unified communications tools isn’t as convenient as doing the same over a messaging app like WhatsApp.

So, what options do you have?

Now, that we’ve ascertained that WhatsApp shouldn’t be your go-to communications platform for professional purposes.

If you’re in need of a professional communications & messaging solution for your workspace, you can get in touch with us. We work with several such solutions providers and can help you select the digital workplace interaction tool that is most compatible with your needs and addresses all the concerns raised in this post.

Keep WhatsApp for making weekend plans with your work buddies or catching up with your friends and family. You need something a little more professional on the work front. A communications tool that allows you to seamlessly discuss and delineate your work responsibilities will help you perform better at work. WhatsApp with its multiple distractions and colourful emojis and gifs is hardly the space for professional communication!

Just ask friendly our Bot – Stitch. He sits on the bottom right hand side of this screen. Just ask him to arrange a call back from one of our team to find out more about our approach to messaging heaven!

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