Time to get rid of email and use Slack
So long email! For the past couple weeks our nerds have been experimenting with a new way to communicate in the office. Rather than sending short emails to each other when one of us needs quick feedback, we’ve been trying something a bit different. No, not telepathy… Too often has some small email gotten stuck in the depths of the spam box, never to be found again. Something that was meant to be quick ended up wasting precious time all because of archaic interoffice email. Not anymore. Good riddance, inbox!
Our team has been using a new software as a service (Saas) platform called Slack for all our quick exchanges and sound boarding. Slack is an instant messaging service that allows our team to engage in group chats and direct messages without waiting for that small email. It works in a browser window, or you can download the desktop app for Windows and Mac. There’s even a mobile version! You can set up chat channels for specific types of conversations. For example, we have a channel for general office news such as what’s been happening or what needs to get done today. We also have a channel for specific discussion about this very blog where we can post topic ideas and get feedback on post titles and all the media you see on a given post.
Slack is great for when you need to send something small to someone. Why waste an email sending someone a quick link when you can just drag and drop it over to a chat window? This works great for getting feedback on images we are working on in Photoshop or a new infographic for the blog. Pictures show up instantly in Slack and let you save them to your computer if you need to. All files are searchable in the Slack client as well so you can find it easily. Even conversations are saved and you can access them from any web browser wherever you go.
We’ve also been using it for out of office communication. It allows us to get feedback or ideas and maintain a line of communication even if the person isn’t present. It’s quick and easy so it doesn’t have the same annoyance as a phone call, or the lack of immediacy as an email. It feels natural without being invasive because it lacks the formality of an email or a call. It’s like the person is still in the room working beside you even though they are miles away. No need to waste an email or a call on some short or dumb question.
Of course email still has its uses for talking to clients and other people not in our office, but for the most part, Slack has replaced our reliance on in-office email. However, in order for Slack to be the most effective it requires everyone to be on it. What feedback can you get if no one is there to respond quickly? It does notify the user what messages they missed while they were away, but then it’s almost like old school email again. So if you want to use Slack effectively, make sure everyone is on it while at work. Download the app and leave it open in the background during your whole work day and see how you like it. So give it a shot in your office and let us know what you think!