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Finding a messaging app on a person's smartphone today is almost inevitable. These apps are a quick way to communicate with friends, classmates or co-workers outside of traditional texting or social media.

More than half of global frontline workers in retail, hospitality and entertainment use messaging apps up to six times per day, according to a new study from Speakap. The trouble is, 16 percent of those workers said that their HR departments don't know about this app usage.

Employees use of unapproved messaging apps--most frequently WhatsApp, Messenger and Skype--can be detrimental to the well-being of employees and company data security, according to Speakap.

SEE: WhatsApp dominates messaging world, study finds

"Just because these tools are popular or preferred doesn't mean they are the right choice," Patrick Van Der Mijl, co-founder of Speakap, said in a press release. "There are three serious problems with using tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for employee communications - digital wellbeing, data security and regulatory compliance."

Using a messaging app or social media site for work can blur the lines of a person's professional and private life. The ability to communicate at all hours of the day made establishing a healthy balance between work and life difficult for 30 percent of workers surveyed.

Most of the surveyed workers were using messaging apps because their company didn't have an internal communications platform, Speakap found. If their company were to provide one, 68 percent of the employees said they would stop using the messaging apps and social media sites.

Messaging apps and social media sites have also not proven themselves trustworthy platforms for the transmission of sensitive information. Inaccuracies can still be spread, despite an app's encryption.

WhatsApp has taken strides to prevent the dissemination of irrelevant or false information by limiting five conversations per forwarded message.

Facebook, which seems to be in the news daily for poor data privacy practices, reportedly plans to unify WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger onto one platform.

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Takeaways

  1. More than half of global frontline workers in retail, hospitality and entertainment use messaging apps up to six times per day, according to a new study from Speakap. Of the surveyed employees, 16 percent said that their HR departments don't know about the app usage.
  2. The use of social media sites or messaging apps can leave a company at risk for data breaches and comprise employee well-being.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.