WhatsApp and your workplace: a risky business move?

James Potts - Legal Services Director

May 29 2019

Outside of work, people use WhatsApp to send messages to friends and family. But does instant mobile messaging have a place inside the world of work? The millions of people who use WhatsApp as part of their jobs would say, “Yes.” So, should you use the app to keep in touch with your staff?

All your staff in one place

If there’s an urgent work problem, a WhatsApp group with all your staff in it can make finding a resolution easier. Say you’re stuck visiting a customer and won’t make it back to work to lock up. You can tell your team with a quick message in your work's group chat, and they’ll lock up for you.

WhatsApp and work fixes

Sometimes, you solve a workplace dilemma when you’re away from work. If you don’t have a pen and paper to jot down the idea before you forget it, having a WhatsApp group with your staff allows you to share your eureka moment in a quick instant message. And when you’re back at work, you can start on that fix straightaway. But then again, constant phone alerts, especially when your staff aren’t at work, can have a bigger impact than you might realise…

Drawbacks of instant messaging

If staff are always on call, it stops them enjoying their time off. And employees need to be well-rested so they can be productive when they’re at work. That’s not all… When you create a group chat, staff will be able to see each other’s personal numbers and send messages to each other about anything—including issues not related to work. That might make some staff feel uncomfortable. And even worse, without supervision, people can say the wrong thing on WhatsApp…

Moderating messages

Say a member of staff swore or used offensive language on WhatsApp. They might not have realised that their messages offended their colleagues. And if those messages get forwarded on to you, you’ll have to investigate. You might even have to take disciplinary action. But maybe your biggest concern about WhatsApp is its security…

How safe is WhatsApp?

You can’t ignore recent news that revealed WhatsApp was used to install spyware on some users’ phones. People’s calls, messages, cameras and contacts could be accessed, even when they weren’t using WhatsApp. But it’s not just spyware you have to worry about. Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you can’t take chances with sensitive customer information. Especially if your staff are exchanging details about a customer in a WhatsApp group and the customer hasn’t given their consent. You don’t want to lose the trust of your customers or get a fine under the Act. Want more information on how WhatsApp could affect your workplace? Call us on 0800 028 2420

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