Why Boomers Need Chat

“They’re Boomers and they don’t want chat.” When my friend said that, it occurred to me why many leaders resist moving from email and attachments to the much more efficient chat-based format of Microsoft Teams.

I was having a discussion with a friend who was frustrated at the slow pace of his company’s adoption of Teams chat as a replacement for internal email.

Even though I’m a relatively young Boomer myself, I immediately got why they’re resisting.

I recall my corporate days of busy-ness, bureaucracy, and the general getting-dragged-along-by-the-whims-of-other-people frustrations. Too often, I would be on a roll working on my own project and one of those irritating Skype instant messages would pop up.

I felt obligated to answer it. Next thing I knew, I was getting dragged into a conversation that completely took me off my game. My feelings about instant messaging were the same as the older Boomers.

I hated them.

Well, Teams is different than that.

Chat in Teams has the same urgency that email is supposed to have. I say “supposed to have” because most people don’t use email correctly either.

Boomers tend to be hard workers and most generally believe that to be a good employee, they must be immediately responsive. That is not being a good employee. That is being a distracted employee, but that’s a topic for another day.

Even though I wish it a fast and painful death as a communication method, email is supposed to be addressed. When. You. Reach. A. Good. Stopping. Point. With. Your. Own. Work!

Chat is the same way. Answer it when you are done with your own priorities. If they need you right away, they can call or click that awesome “urgent” feature on a chat message that buzzes you every 2 minutes until you respond.

(Hint to non-Boomers: Consider that urgent feature to be like the glass of a fire extinguisher case. It had better be for a good reason if you break it!)

Teams chat is not instant messaging. It is like email that you don’t have to ever store, drag to another folder, or watch hopelessly as it swells your inbox up like a tick on a dog’s ear. (Yes, I said tick on a dog's ear. I tried to think of something more business-like, but I couldn't.)

With Teams, the messages from your colleagues take care of themselves. All you must do is read them, reply if necessary, “like” them if you only need to say thank you or you’re welcome, and then get back to your own work.

Fewer clicks, fewer drags, and every message is always keyword-searchable with the super-powerful Teams search engine.

What’s not to like about that? You’re as informed and involved as any Boomer could ever want to be, but with a fraction of the effort.

Teams chat is not instant messaging.

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