Slack is many things: an engine for collaboration and a distraction machine; a community builder for an office and a facsimile of secondary clients; a service to streamline the work and to blur the lines of work / life balance. It is the path of my existence and also, at times, the only ointment for a stressful day.
Think of AOL Instant Messenger, but for people with jobs. Even better, think of coworking space provider WeWork, with its promise to deliver office culture as a service. Slack also does, but instead in a physical room. At a time when several jobs are working behind the screens, sometimes remotely in distributed workplaces, Slack is the new office water cooler. It is the working environment you have when you are stuck on the desk for hours, and can not soar by the glorious office wall or palm beer in the kitchen. (For the record: Our office also doesn't.)
And if Slack has his way, the service can also quickly shape your office culture.
One billion messages in a week. Nine hours connected to the app. Ninety minutes of active use. These are impressive figures for a recent public company that wants to show investors how sticky and central the platform can be for businesses. But these figures also highlight Slack's potential to be an inferno to anyone who prizes their time, focus, privacy, and anything due to an anxious life inside and outside the office.
To be clear, I'm old enough to remember the fear of a boss calling my phone call and asking me to come to her office. I've seen the best minds of my generation ruined by crazy meaningless emails. I've been told to communicate with colleagues through AIM and Gchat. But Slack is somehow more consuming because it is more fun and GIF-filled and deceptively non-threatening.
"It is expected that it will be more of an instant answer because you are expected to be on Slack all the time," says Gloria Mark , Professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies technology use in the workplace and has too many Slack groups by himself. "With email people can turn it off. They can batch the emails where they only look at it two or three times a day. Because of the social component of Slack, it's harder to do so. "
At any moment, day or night, when I open the Slack app, I'm almost guaranteed to see little red dots next to it. The names of different channels and users who tell me how many unread mentions and messages are waiting for me.The whole conversation may have evolved over time it took me to take a cup of water – faster than I ever remember email exchange metastasizing. Some of these may be about bachelor; Some may decide the future of my employment.
The informal character of Slack allows employees to share sentences in a business account and never to say in an email account. The informal nature Slack masks the fact that you can effectively tell which employees are online – and are supposed to work – and who are not based on a green dot next to their name. The informal character Slack makes it easier For coworkers and managers to send you messages after hours – it's just a slack message, after all, and see, this message has a festive parrot that eats popcorn.
And Slack is just a bigger part of my life. First, it helped to turn colleagues into friends. Reach my real friends – sorry colleagues! – uses Slack to schedule bachelor parties and weekend excursions and create a centralized place to share Simpson's references. My wife Slacks me Dachshund GIFs and baby pictures. And one day, when she is old enough, our child will probably create a slack to organize operations for her first lemonade party – or whatever Slack-like service has overtaken Slack to make us feel more connected under the premise of to be more productive.