With the rise of remote and hybrid work, more employees are now using instant messaging apps to communicate with colleagues, vendors, partners and suppliers.

This is one of the findings in a new survey from Rocket.Chat. What’s more, 95% of employees expect their workplaces to keep these conversations completely private and secure.

“The future of digital communication in the workplace will be more streamlined and transparent than ever before, as the latest generation of employees wants to be able to easily collaborate with colleagues and external partners, across platforms,” says Gabriel Engel, CEO of Rocket.Chat.

“With instant messaging being more widely adopted than email in 2021, this collaboration openness is a game changer, enabling increased productivity. Data privacy, security and ownership at work are key elements to ensuring the viability of this capability; they are not nice-to-haves but must-haves.

“As an employee, I expect it. As an employer, I prioritise it.”

The survey’s four major findings confirm that Rocket.Chat’s approach to workplace communications is on target with emerging trends:

* Employees want their messaging platform to facilitate streamlined collaboration;

* Instant messaging is not just for internal stakeholders;

* Data privacy is of prime concern to employees; and

* Ease of use is of critical importance to users.

The survey demonstrates that a majority of respondents are looking for a complete collaboration tool that also offers security and customer engagement. Nearly two-thirds of employees – 65% – cite the ability to message and video chat with coworkers through one centralized platform as important.

The survey underscores the demand from younger generations to streamline and simplify communication through a centralised channel, with 88% of those under the age of 45 wanting an all-encompassing communications platform and 91% in the 25-34 age bracket stating a centralised channel was important.

More than 70% of employees now use instant messaging platforms to communicate with other companies, such as vendors, partners and suppliers.

However, when it comes to interacting with these outside companies, instant messaging platforms have some catching up to do with email – 40% of respondents think it’s more difficult to communicate with external contacts than via email.

Most communication apps make it difficult to connect with external contacts. For example, you can use Gmail to email a Hotmail account, but you can’t use communication apps to message a user on a different communication app. These apps require that person to have an account.

Rocket.Chat resolves this challenge with its federation feature, which ensures collaboration with external stakeholders is as streamlined and intuitive as with internal colleagues. Rocket.Chat’s game-changing collaboration services enable users to easily leverage it for file sharing, video streaming and attending virtual meetings.

Nearly all employees- 95% – trust and rely on their employees to ensure privacy and confidentiality company-wide. Almost a third also depend on their employers to keep their personal and identifiable data secure.

A solid majority – 77% – see ease of use as top priority to look for in a messaging app. This aligns with how respondents rate the top three benefits of instant messaging compared to email:

* Faster response times (70%);

* Easier to share/send files (52%); and

* More intuitive collaboration (43%).