Slack didn’t break remote working, your colleagues did
We swapped the office for workplace messaging platforms and boy was it hard. As we prepare for a hybrid working future, the race is on to fix it
We’ve used Slack and Trello to power a successful fully-distributed company with teammates across the country. Internal emails have been less than 10 in 6 years, and we’re very well organized with channels, communication, and sprint meetings. Different industries, situations, teams, outcomes, but still interesting.
Do you have many external emails?
I think it's interesting how well slack can work for internal stuff, but there's normally some Slack etiquette that end's up being adopted to make it work well.
We're a product team, for us no external emails. We have feedback mechanisms in place for customers, but those don't go through me, and instead are automatically relayed via a Slack channel.
Yeah, no doubt on the etiquette. To be honest, I haven't witnessed anyone in any Slack environment that I've been apart of who misused the channels.
I went full time on my own business last year and decided to opt out of Slack completely for these same reasons.
The platform encourages quick, poorly thought out interruptions and requests, so while it's fun when you want to kill a little time socializing with your fellow employees, it's not good for productivity.
Email can become just as bad, so I instituted a twice per day email policy. I have two hours blocked off where I can access my inbox, and handle things in batches.
Part of the reason I'm able to do this is the nature of my business (it tends to be asynchronous and rarely urgent), but I think most businesses could run this way if they wanted. The problem is that inexperienced managers like to "check in" and some workers with low respect for others time like having the ability to "tap you on the shoulder."
Anyway, for entrepreneurs out there, I'd encourage you to try batching and avoiding the "always on" style of Slack. It's amazing how much less you actually have to work when you liberate that time.
Have you had to explain to people that you might not get back to there emails quickly?
On Memo we've added a feature that every message, across the whole system, is only notified about after an hour. A bit improvement but I'm thinking about going even further and adopting the two per day delivery pattern
Every now and then someone will email me again before I respond, in which case I will explain that I only check emails once or twice per day. Usually it just takes one interaction like this and they get the point.
I've also had a couple clients who really like me to be at their beck and call. I usually end up firing those clients though, because it doesn't really fit with my way of running the business.