Is Slack actually killing our productivity?

Is Slack actually killing our productivity?

Blog
June 16, 2021

Productivity is an assessment of employees' efficiency. A productive employee is someone who can get a lot of work done within a limited period of time. Answering emails, ticking off to-dos, taking part in quick & useful meetings: all this creates a sense of pride and satisfaction in the professional life because it is linked to increased efficiency.
Because they help to exchange information faster, communication tools (such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) have been praised as enablers of productivity. Indeed, they deeply changed the way we work. Particularly lately, with a vast majority of workers are working from home, these tools have become the main source of pear-to-pear communication within the company. They, therefore, helped keep social and work links between teammates. However, they also became the first "daily tasks" providers.

However instant messaging tools also have negative aspects. Though they can help employees communicate faster they can also become very disruptive (particularly during important meetings or working sessions).
Indeed, communication tools create an ever-present sense of urgency.  Push notifications, sound effects, and vibration drive workers to reply instantly, thus favoring synchronous communication (instead of an asynchronous one). Regardless of their level of urgency, Slack notifications all arrive with the same level of importance.
More often than not, teammates ask questions on the wrong channel, they miss providing enough context which makes the query hard to understand, and finally, they forget to tag the right person. This leads enablers of productivity such as Slack to become a source of noise: useless conversations become a continuous disruption in the working day.

As a result, a lot of relevant knowledge gets lost, updates become hard to follow and information can become almost impossible to find.
Because our ambition at Spot is to make teams as productive as possible, we have listed below some tips for you to keep Slack well managed. That way, it will stay a productivity tool and it will bring out even more value to your working life.

1. Use the right channel‍

Before sending a Slack message, always consider whether it is the right channel or not. It will be useful for you (to get a relevant and fast answer) and for your colleagues (canceling unnecessary noise).
If you are not sure who to ask, Spot can help you by recommending the person the most likely to help you with any given query. You can then reach out directly to the appropriate person.
Above all, always prefer using public channels: this will help you to avoid important knowledge being lost in private messages

2. Answer in threads

Important info can easily get lost in a sea of comments and answers. By using threads, you can minimize the time spent reading comments and keep topic-based discussions grouped together.
Next step: with Spot, you'll be able to back up any of these existing threads, importing them to Spot knowledge base to avoid losing important information being created on Slack. Therefore, your threads become authentic and easy-to-find knowledge.

3. Tag the colleague(s) you want an answer from

People are not going to read every single one of your messages (particularly when your company has a bunch of channels). It then becomes your responsibility to make sure to get an answer by using @person!

4.  Always acknowledge your colleagues' messages

Always reply to the person that tagged you, even if it’s just to say you’ll get back to it later! You are more likely to forget to do it if you don't do it right away.

5. Always give context

When writing a message on Slack, make sure you provide the necessary information and context: what you need, why you need it, and when you need it. If you are only sharing a piece of news or commenting on something, make it clear to everyone else that you are not looking for an answer

6. Don't use Slack as your private WhatsApp!

Keep your use of Slack limited to professional aspects (Yes, you should not share your latest fashion acquisition on Slack unless there is a dedicated channel). This will prevent you from scrolling across unwanted content when looking for information!

Want to give it a try?

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