‘Slack Creep’ Is Real. Here’s How Your Company Can Avoid It

Berenstain Bears Slack
Image via Christa Mrgan (@antichrista)

I gave a brief talk about Slack at our company meetup this year, but I thought it would be helpful to expand on this problem and share it publicly.

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Slack (their open letter strategy notwithstanding) is one of the truly great work tools we’ve embraced inside Automattic. We’re a distributed company, which means there is no office and everyone works “remote” (we hate that word) from spots all around the world — 500+ employees across more than 50 countries.

Having real-time chat adds an important level of intimacy and energy to our daily work, and it makes it easier than ever for our teams to quickly discuss projects and ideas. Slack also adds some very smart layers of fun (GIFs, emoji, thoughtful messaging and copy) to differentiate itself from the cold, sterile world of work productivity.

But. Slack has its limits.

Despite what its marketing campaign suggests, Slack is not a replacement for email. Its usefulness hinges on employees knowing the difference between what’s appropriate for real-time chat, and what needs to be communicated in a more timeless forum. Slack can’t do everything, and teams should discuss best practices for using it. Continue reading ‘Slack Creep’ Is Real. Here’s How Your Company Can Avoid It

The Truth About Working from Home

I spoke with PSFK Labs about Automattic‘s “distributed” work model — at 430+ employees, we’re one of the world’s largest companies where everyone works from home (or anywhere they please).

There are pros and cons to any work situation. How a company performs depends a lot on who it hires, how those people get along, how they communicate, and how teams are structured to make it as easy as possible to be productive.

We can’t control for those factors, but the simple fact about distributed work is that people can be more productive when they don’t have to commute anywhere. Cutting commute times is better for employees, it’s better for companies to cultivate talent around the world, it’s better for families, and it’s better for our cities to reduce gridlock. I would love to see local governments — and the next president — embrace more policies that encourage companies to “go distributed.”

Photo: cdisegna