Workplace Productivity - 5 Ways Slack Is Destroying It

Slack was once heralded as the ultimate replacement for internal meetings and email chains. Much has been accomplished since its launch in 2013, with Slack currently being one of the most adopted communication tools by teams in the world.

Companies are increasingly moving their workplace communications to instant messaging platforms that combine chat and email, such as Slack, designed to eliminate endless internal email communication processes. Slack's appeal remains clear, as the platform records more than six billion actions each week, two billion of which are performed on smartphones.

Do you feel like Slack is gradually taking up more of your work time?

You are not alone,  thousands of others are sharing. Although Slack is considered a faster, more organized and more secure alternative to email, it has undeniably changed the way we work. Slack has impacted workplace productivity and employees' ability to manage their schedules. In an increasingly digital work environment, workplace collaboration software Slack has a negative impact on productivity as workers spend more time distracted by tools or waiting for an application to interrupt instead of completing tasks. Although Slack is still a great communication tool that is ideal for communication within and between teams, it does have its drawbacks.

Here are five ways Slack is destroying workplace productivity by wasting critical support time:

1. The widespread use of @channel

The widespread use of @channel feature mentioning a @channel is a powerful feature in Slack that notifies everyone in the channel. On average, over 90% of all workplace channel posts use @channels. Extensive use of @channel can cause @channel fatigue. On top of that it turns out that excessive use of the @channel feature by support teams can annoy the development team. 

Support often abuses the @channel feature in a desperate attempt to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible. Excessive use of this feature creates a chaotic environment that negatively affects the concentration level of developers. 

Confusion can also arise because every developer on the team is notified and no one is sure whether to respond or not. Some @channel notification messages do not require urgent responses, while others can be resolved without developer involvement. These unnecessary distractions that break a developer's concentration bubble can lead them to stay away from support channels to better focus on their work.

2. Notification overload

Slack's notification overload can be frustrating to deal with, especially when you're trying to focus your undivided attention on something else. The solution to such a scenario is to configure the Do Not Disturb (DND) and Notification Schedule features. 

Both features aim to set up a continuous stream of notifications only when the developer is available via Slack. However, it seems like you're missing out on something important if you choose to silence notifications to be productive at work. So many people may choose to disable all notifications at the cost of their concentration.

3. Optimized for attention, not work

Slack seems to emphasize productivity due to its easy integration with multiple platforms. Slack supports the creation of custom bots and the use of @mentions as an effective method to discreetly capture the attention of the people you need.

Using gifs, emoticons and reactions reminiscent of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snap, etc., Slack's main goal is engagement. By providing competition for an employee's attention at their workplace, Slack negatively affects productivity.

4. Inconsistent use of @mention feature

@mention is one of Slack's most powerful features.

Designed to promote office work culture, @mention allows users to learn about everything happening in channels without actively monitoring channels, allowing developers to focus on getting work done. However, not using @mention in your message will likely cause your intended target to miss the message.

The solution to this problem is to ensure that all employees understand Slack work etiquette during the onboarding process. Employees should use @mentions more often and avoid using the @channel feature.

5. Channel Mix-up

This often happens, the right message is sent to the wrong channel.

To reduce developer distraction, @channel should be disabled in public channels, where most non-work related banter is likely to occur.

Only production channels should support @channels ads to notify developers of critical production issues that require their immediate and undivided attention. With its development and production channels, the company limits the number of people who have access to these channels. Using mentions in such channels ensures that only the right people are notified who can help resolve the product issue.

The solution - Shifter

Slack is a great tool and improves the workplace in many ways, but it still has  room for improvement. Instead of relying on your support team's processes or etiquette, you can automate it with Shifter. 

Developers can use Shifter to fix @channel fatigue. Any disruptive disruptions in @channel notifications will be reported to just one member of the dev team via Shifter. This allows one developer to handle support tasks while the rest of the team can focus on other tasks.

Shifter is an easy to use fix. Its group rotation feature allows developers to assign tasks on rotation. With Shifter, team roles can be defined and updated with a simple add / remove corresponding function. Shifter also allows you to support  multiple groups on a daily or weekly rotating schedule. It  also displays all  current and upcoming weekly or monthly plans directly through Slack, facilitating efficient planning.

Shifter makes emergency laps easier  and more automatic.

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