Writing an e-mail can sometimes be a real chore, especially when it’s an official record of business communication. That means you have to spend some time writing it while concentrating on formulating your thoughts as clearly as possible. Another downside here is that it’s not the best tool for a casual conversation.
That’s where new instant messaging platforms like Slack, Workplace, or Teams come in. Thanks to the casual nature of such communication, it’s quite easy to reach out to a colleague to talk about the project at hand. With that comes the opportunity to have group chats as well. Unfortunately, that’s where complications may arise, since everybody wants to chime in on a topic.
A Reasonable Replacement for E-mail
Many businesses turned to Slack to speed up the communication between employees. That left e-mails for strictly official exchange. Thanks to that, people don’t have to read and write dozens of e-mails every day.
You also don’t have to worry too much about spelling and grammar on Slack because most of the communication is informal. When using e-mail, business ethics consider 24 hours as a reasonable time to respond. With Slack, that norm is significantly less, if not instant.
Responding as soon as messages appear can even tip off a sense of satisfaction in people. They might feel rewarded with that dopamine high anytime they answer someone within a couple of seconds. Some go even beyond that, checking every group anytime a new message appears.
Slack Seeks a Lot of Attention
Therefore, people rush to read every message so that they can keep up and stay on top of things. If not, there’s a chance you’ll feel as if being left out of the loop. Just imagine if you don’t sign up for that pub reservation after work. You might also miss an important announcement about a breakthrough on a project.
Although there are many benefits to this, Slack definitely can take your attention from the task at hand. If your organization counts dozens or hundreds of people, distraction can become constant, almost crippling.
There were even situations where colleagues complained to managers when their team members are not instantly responding on Slack. Consequently, that can cause anxiety in workers, fearing reprimand if they’re not answering quickly enough. Although this is not exactly a great business practice, it turns out to be not that uncommon occurrence.
If you’re in a dozen groups, using Slack can turn out to be a chore, even more than e-mails were. That can significantly decrease productivity in the workplace, affecting your concentration on the task at hand.
Research by the University of California and Humboldt University found that as much as 23 minutes can go to waste with every interruption. That includes Slack as well. And it can lead to workers doing overtime to compensate for the lost minutes and hours they spent typing on Slack.
Keeping Slack Less Distracting
The truth is, not all Slack messages need your attention. That’s why it’s essential to separate those by priority. Indeed, messages from your managers, or other higher-ups, are your top priority. Next on the list is your team’s group chat, as well as the group dedicated to your project. Depending on the work you do, there might be a couple of other relevant groups, but that should be it.
A growing number of businesses refrain from using Slack at all when possible. Keeping that face to face contact beats typing away like a machine gun with a colleague sitting across the desk.
When dealing with clients, instead of allowing them to contact you over instant messaging platforms, it would be better to keep that communication in the realm of e-mails. As far as the file exchange is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft’s One Drive, or any other online storage service.
To counter the distractions, Slack offers snooze options that can mute conversations of your choice. Also, you can use emojis to show the other side to see that you’ve read the message, but you’re currently unavailable to chat.
Adding channels to your favorites selection by starring them is also an excellent way of keeping priority groups above others. That allows you to easily keep an eye on them while moving less important chats beneath them.
Make Slack Productive Again!
Although this is a productivity tool, the overwhelming number of messages can impair your productivity. To make sure you’re don’t lose your focus, occasionally walk over to your colleagues to chat face to face. That, in turn, can build better personal relationships, further improving your work environment.
Do you find Slack distracting when you’re working? Have you found a way to mitigate this? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.