CEO & co-founder
I keep hearing stories about Slack fatigue. “It’s yet another inbox to keep track of”, they say. And they’re right. When you set up Slack, the default setting is to notify you whenever anything happens. That’s fun in the beginning — and getting instant replies instead of waiting on email replies is sweet — but it also gets plain crazy pretty fast. And even worse, people start to expect instant replies.
At Opbeat, we loved using Slack at first, but we didn’t care for the constant disturbance. We pay our employees to think, and that’s difficult when you’re throwing red notifications badges at them all of the time. (Add an open office landscape to that mix and you’ll all go nuts.)
But luckily, for us, it turned out that the fix to make Slack a great collaboration tool was simple. We introduced a single rule that goes for the entire company:
Slack is not mandatory and should be thought of as asynchronous communication.
That’s it. You can ping team members, and maybe you’ll get an instant reply, maybe not. It’s entirely OK for anyone to reply later, or never. As it turns out, this really works. Our team enjoys using Slack and we generally use it over email — when we have time for it.
When someone needs to inform the entire company about something important, they send a group email. Those emails are still mandatory reading, and are typically only sent out a few times a month.
Disclaimer: We’re a 13-person team. I don’t know how this rule will work for larger teams, but I’m guessing it’ll only get better as the team size grows. Give it a try and let me know!
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