by Matt Alderton | July 10, 2018
These days, it's just as common for office workers to gather virtually around an instant message as it is for them to gather physically around a water cooler. Before you engage with your co-workers online, however, you should take a moment to think about the image you want to portray.
"Many companies these days use Slack or another work chat application to communicate more efficiently and spend less time writing emails," says Glassdoor contributor Isabel Thottam. "Whether you currently work for a company that uses Slack in place of email, or are about to start a new job and are not sure what the company's communication tools are, it's always a good rule of thumb to be cautious about how you behave in front of co-workers both in person and in a digital chat room."

First thing's first: Don't call your co-workers "dude." "Chatting with your co-workers on a work chat can seem harmless, but you are a professional now and, regardless of how laid-back your work office is, you should always address your co-workers by their first names," Thottam says. "Referring to someone as 'bro' or 'dude' gives off major college vibes, and even if you are fresh out of college, you don't want your co-workers to continually think of you as the unpolished graduate."

An even worse offense is confessing to boredom. "The history of your chat can always come back to haunt you and the last thing you'd want to have your manager see is your chats about how boring your job is, or how not busy you are at work," Thottam continues. "Beware of leaving a digital trail of your disinterest in your job."

Along with boredom, leave your emotions in the physical world and away from the digital one. "Using Slack to have a significant conversation is not the best course of action," Thottam advises. "Work chats should be used for action items and professional discussions; any emotional conversations you need to have with a manager or co-worker should happen in person."

Finally, don't hesitate; be direct. "Using tentative language has no place in a work chat," Thottam concludes. "Lean in. The point of using Slack is to get answers quickly, so don't leave the door open for a lot of back and forth. Instead, be assertive in what you're asking or answering. Give a firm yes if you can do it, or a no if you can't. Don't waste time; Slack and other communication apps are supposed to make collaborating easier!"

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