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When I worked for a software engineering firm a few years back, we used MSN Messenger. It was a small company of about 25 people, all under the age of 40 and very tech savvy.
I can honestly say that using the IM client in lieu of pointless meetings and the running back and forth really saved us all tons of wasted time and really improved productivity. Contrary to what some might think, no one abused it and chatted all day long.
It's always intrigued me at how the most strict companies with anal retentive policies tend to kill morale and sink worker productivity whereas all the companies that I've worked for which treated it's employees with respect and dignity, got more than their money's worth out of every employee.
It's actually done in the enterprise more than we know. I know folks at Cisco that use it all the time to ping each other around the corporate campus.
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