Slack - Is it worth it ?

Saturday, February 1, 2020
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Language is not a fixed object.

Throughout human history, language and the way we communicate has evolved. From initial grunts and body language to speech, images on walls to alphabets, from pens to the printing press, letters to email and the internet. We’ve come a long way.

The article today will discuss Slack and its impact on the workplace in terms of communication and efficiency. Slack has made a massive impact on the market, read on below to find out what we realised once we started using it.

But before we begin, let’s quickly explain:

What is Slack?

Slack is an instant messaging service that has become extremely popular within workplaces. It allows colleagues and teams to communicate between themselves and with exterior clients. Based within the cloud, it can either be downloaded onto a computer or used within web browsers, meaning access is easy for anybody with an internet connection.

The premise is for a company to replace emails with Slack for internal communications and to let people, ‘Break out of the inbox’. It does this by letting users setup specific channels that team members can be invited to. For example work departments could communicate to colleagues through their, ‘Design’, ‘Sales’, and ‘Marketing’, channels.

But you’re not limited to just this, channels can be setup for anything that will help organise workflow and communication, such as by project or topic. The premise is to make sure everyone in the channel has access to the same information and are aligned with goals.

There are three types of channel: public, private, and shared. Public channels are free for anyone in your organisation to join. Private channels are only for employees that have been invited into it. The channel and the information within it are only viewable by people who have been invited. Shared channels allow two different organisations to collaborate. Clients, agencies and vendors can instantly discuss work, feedback, and plan.

Company profile

Slack has come a long way since its launch in 2013. Originally it was created as an internal tool for Stewart Butterfield’s company, Tiny Speck. Fast forward to April 2019, Slack has gone public with shares rising to $21 billion in value.

Now the company boasts over 12 million daily users in over 150 countries around the world. Out of all the companies in the Fortune 100, 65 of them incorporate slack into their work ecosystem.

Is this the end of emails?

As mentioned above, part of Slack’s mission statement is to, ‘break people free’ of the inbox. At times when you’re completely snowed under by unread emails, this mission certainly seems valiant. There are a lot of companies out there who have tried to use Slack solely for communication, to various levels of success.

The most common use of Slack seems to be a hybrid communication process alongside emails, with different levels of formality assigned to each mode. Slack is great for informal quick messaging and email takes on a more formal capacity.

At least for the foreseeable future, emails will still be a necessity for the majority of the workforce. Particularly if you consider that Slack isn’t used for reaching out to a person or organisation you haven’t met before. Alongside this, if you are a member of a lot of active channels, there is still the possibility of not viewing all messages, like if your email inbox is inundated.

Perhaps in the future, when the entire workforce has become accustomed to using Slack, emails will be phased out. But for the moment, while there is still a large amount of companies that are unfamiliar with the app, emails will remain an active part of everyday day work.

Does Slack Help Productivity?

One of the companies taglines on their website reads, ‘Slack is where work happens’. The idea is that through improved communication, bringing teams together and sharing information all in one place for everyone to see, work will be improved. Couple this with the more instant nature of the program and teams will receive the information and feedback they need quicker, making for faster turnarounds on projects.

Slack is fast becoming a standard across workplaces. It’s a great way for teams to communicate and share information. While there is still a time and place for standing up, walking across a room, and talking face to face with a colleague, Slack has created a lot of flexibility for the workforce that is greatly appreciated by many.