Is Slack the right collaboration tool for remote work?
Just a few years ago, employers would have rejected the idea of remote working culture. However, with the advent of so many new technologies, working from home has never been easier! A physical office is no longer required for employees to be productive – in fact, remote working actually improves productivity and employee satisfaction.
However, some considerations do need to be made when transitioning to the remote working culture. Specific tools need to be used to aid collaboration and communication between team members and management staff.
Due to the rising popularity of remote work worldwide, there are several tools currently available for this specific task. Of them, Slack is one of the most popular ones. In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of this platform to ultimately determine whether this collaboration tool is ideal for remote work.
Pro #1: Slack effectively aids communication
Slack is truly one of the most convenient communication platforms out there. One of the biggest problems remote workers face is appropriately communicating with their team members or bosses. Slack simplifies this process by creating a virtual workspace where various channels can be created to discuss specific projects. It also allows threads to be created in a channel to discuss a specific topic, which enables all the information on each topic to be in one place.
Additionally, Slack offers embedded audio and video calling services to improve communication and save time; instead of having to switch to a different platform to set up a call, you can easily do it on Slack itself.
Overall, Slack’s convenience stems from the fact that it is a WhatsApp-like platform geared towards businesses. It remains a simple, primarily chat-based platform with specially designed features to enhance collaboration for remote teams.
Pro #2: Slack seamlessly integrates with third-party apps
Several third-party apps can be added to your Slack workspace, including Google Drive, Google Calendar, Zendesk, Asana and more. Other apps to improve remote working culture, such as Taco, can also be integrated into Slack.
This innovative feature ensures projects can move forward without unnecessary delays due to information being communicated across several different channels, as is often the case with remote workers. It also ensures time-sensitive tasks are resolved quickly. By enabling everything work-related to be collected and displayed on its platform, it reduces the chances of information loss and improves communication.
Pro #3: Slack reduces spam in email inboxes
Say goodbye to your cluttered inbox, for Slack has replaced emails. There is no longer any need to go back and forth over multiple emails to resolve issues, discuss projects or clarify doubts. As the lack of face-to-face interactions leads to email inboxes being spammed, this is certainly a significant concern for remote workers.
Slack’s channels and threads neatly organize all the relevant information on each topic in one place, making it easier to find what you need while keeping your inbox neat and tidy.
Thus far, it seems as though Slack is the perfect tool for collaboration in remote work. However, it does have its downsides too. Let’s take a look at the biggest ones.
Con #1: Slack does not replace the best collaborative apps
While Slack is a great way to collate and organize information by topic or project, it’s not good at facilitating the management of those projects. As a chat-based platform, there are no features that enable the workflow to be tracked.
When it comes to larger projects, this issue becomes more pronounced. As milestones and deadlines can’t be easily tracked, productivity may suffer, and projects may not be completed on time. Platforms such as Trello or Basecamp are better for this, as they have specific features for project management.
Furthermore, their technology for audio and video calling is not the best. This feature is only available on the desktop version and not on phones. Plus, the quality isn’t great. Due to the lack of face-to-face interactions in remote work culture, quality video calling services are absolutely essential, so you’d be better off using a different app such as Zoom or Google Hangouts for that.
Lastly, Slack’s notifications are hard to configure and do not always show up, thereby stalling communication.
Con #2: Slack creates impersonal relationships
Slack does not solve the issue of personal interaction. Humans are social creatures and people work better in teams when they are familiar with their team members. The impersonal nature of Slack causes personal interaction to be compromised on, which can affect productivity in team members.
Furthermore, the lack of face-to-face interaction makes it difficult for management as well as team members to understand how the others are feeling. Issues such as feeling overwhelmed or stressed, or even happy and focused, can’t be appropriately communicated on this platform.
Con #3: Slack can be disruptive
Although using Slack enables your inbox to remain uncluttered, your Slack workspace may become spammed and messy instead. Due to it’s more informal, chat-based nature, it’s easy for messages to build up. Often, many of these messages are redundant or do not contribute to the discussion.
Although Slack does have its downsides, there are steps you can take to enhance your experience on this platform. Let’s take a look at some of the top tips you can follow to get the most out of Slack.
Tip #1: Define Slack usage guidelines
Slack is best used for simple communication. Think of it like your email, but with a few extra features to better organize information. In fact, Slack can, and should, totally replace your email when it comes to discussing anything work related.
Tip #2: Create a Slack fun channel
This is a channel where your team members can discuss anything and everything non work-related. It will help you build a sense of community and your team will feel more like a team. In remote work culture, this aspect is often overlooked, and team morale suffers because of it. Keep in mind, teams that are familiar and friendly with each other work together a lot better than ones that aren’t!
Tip #3: Pay attention to who you invite to each Slack channel
There’s no need to add people to a certain group if that project has nothing to do with them. Reduce the clutter in everyone’s workspace by only adding them to projects they are working on.
Tip #4: Connect Slack to your third-party apps
Integrate all the third-party apps used by your business into Slack. This will improve communication and save time.
In conclusion, Slack is a great platform for remote teams to communicate. While other third-party apps may need to be integrated with the platform for functions such as project management, it certainly fulfills its function as a communication and collaboration tool. Become a FLYDESKER and receive more useful articles like this.