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Category: Instagram

Did I say that? Think before you hit send

With hybrid work environments becoming the rule, not the exception, it’s time for a reminder about what’s appropriate to put in writing. The informality of email and digital channels permits communications to be fast, funny, and even sarcastic. Most of us would never take this approach in a formal letter or document.

Content shared via email, texts, or through team collaboration channels like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Chat, can become problematic in litigation, particularly if it involves an employment situation. There are countless stories of people who thought their business emails were private. They’re not. They may be discoverable if relevant in a lawsuit.

Here are five tips to ensure a quick and “harmless” message doesn’t become a future problem. 

1. Choose the correct channel. Would a call or an in-person meeting be better? Emails can be forwarded to individuals they were never intended for and anyone with a smartphone can take a screenshot.

2. Watch your tone. Email is eternal. Business communications should be appropriate, safe for work, and inoffensive. Don’t write anything that you’d be uncomfortable with others reading. Including your grandmother.

3. Is it clear? Read it over. Could anything be misconstrued or taken out of context? If you enter litigation, your intent will be analyzed closely by the other side.

4. Don’t begin or continue an argument. If someone shares incorrect information, it’s OK to clarify and provide the facts, but don’t debate or argue through email. 

5. Avoid irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration. A message dashed off in a hurry often falls into this category. So does humor. But these are exactly the communications that can be problematic if a lawsuit occurs.

The office setting may have changed, but the risk has not.  It’s even more important now to raise awareness about appropriate workplace communications so everyone understands what’s at stake.

Using Instagram as a Corporate Tool

What do you think of when you hear the word “corporate?” Tailored suits, boxy skyscrapers, and leather briefcases are a few things that come to mind for most. That conception is often deceiving.

Image of social media icons on a phone including Instagram

Corporate workplaces can be vibrant and cultured spaces. If you need proof, find photos of the corporate offices for companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft.

And that’s where Instagram comes in. The app gives us a medium to share our company’s core values in a way that’s fun, engaging, and human. Obviously we don’t all have the resources to spend lavishly on our office buildings like the “giants.” We can’t Instagram a slide in our office that goes from the HR break room to Reception. However, we can Instagram the delight on a colleague’s face after he or she acquires new business with a client.

The role of Instagram isn’t to show off, per se, but to share what your company is all about. When we think of it as a “tool,” it’s easy to be too strict with its usage.  Go ahead, take that photo of some colleagues at a sporting event. Instagram the great holiday treats a client dropped off for you in the break room. Just please don’t Instagram your lunch.

I often hear conversations held by Gen X’ers or older about how to engage the Millenials. Well, as someone who is right on the edge of their generational borderline, I can say this: They’re more willing to support a company that they feel shares a similar set of values. Whether those values be social, moral or political, Instagram offers a way to share who you are.

Remember, don’t Instagram your lunch!

What do you think? Share your insights and ideas with Joe: Joe.Patrick@matth241.sg-host.com

Social media image courtesy of Jason Howie under Creative Commons license.