I hated it. I believed that instant messaging at work is just for nerds that dislike face-to-face contact. We started using Slack last week. The result surprised me.
This is a list of my findings, some exciting, some terrifying:
#1 Slack makes us productive
Slack is the new rising star of business apps, helping teams work smarter. The team that brought robots to Mars uses it. It spreads like Ebola. Every cool startup team uses it. I was hesitant. But I found out it is great. We use it within the team as a quick way to ask questions and share information. It feels awesome.
#2 It is a great servant, but an evil lord
Instant messaging at work is great when under control. If you keep it on all the time and people keep misusing it for lengthy conversation, it can eat up the whole day. Luckily, everyone in our team has got the right understanding how to use it so not to waste everyone’s time.
#3 Discussing anything is a waste of time
Question. Answer. Clarifying question. Answer. This is what Slack (or any texting/messaging app) is made for. Efficient, quick and fast communication between team members. If it goes any longer that, you pick up the phone. It took me some time to understand it, but since then, I can stay productive and instant message at the same time.
#4 Arguing is great if you want to harm people without solving anything
I failed this several times, but I swear that I will never ever do it again. Arguing over instant messaging or texts is harmful both in life and at work. The problem you argue about will not get solved. The pain threshold for saying nasty things to other people is low. You will:
- Waste a lot of time
- Solve nothing
- Hurt the person on the other side
Therefore, good old offline 1 to 1 meetings and phone calls will never get obsolete.
I am a long time instant messaging user, I started in 1998 when ICQ came out. I did waste a lot of time using it, I admit. But it does not have to be that way at work.
If you use Whatsapp, Messenger or Slack, it does not matter. If used right by every member of the team, it can help the team survive in the fast paced word.
I love the way how our team adopted Slack. We are changing how people travel in Czech Republic, one instant message at a time. Please, let me know your experience with instant messaging at work in comments bellow.