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Productivity would go even higher if you stopped using for the other 4 days. Synchronous chatrooms have very little work value in my experience. You either miss out on a ton of information from all the people chatting or you have to watch it every minute for updates. Nonsense.

> Synchronous chatrooms

Slack doesn't have to be synchronous.

I am part of hundreds of channels across 10 accounts. I only respond to notifications but will typically spend an hour or so at the end of the day just catching up on everything. With email I would simply never know these discussions were even happening.

At the end of the day, you can read all the places where you didn't say one sentence and prevent forty minutes of circling in confusion by others, or all of those decisions that were made earlier in the day, so that you can now decide whether to foment uncertainty by reopening the case, or to just live with the suboptimal solution that you didn't weigh in on.

You can use Slack this asynchronously, but if you do it every day, it might as well be static.

On the other hand, I only use one account at a time, for the most part: my work account.

All the problems you describe exist without Slack so the point is kind of moot.

But they don't exist if you use slack synchronously

Then you haven't balanced the size of your rooms. Slack should be your first and primary communication channel and there's a load of good reasons.

For one, you can never guarantee nor should you expect your team to be colocated. Even if you have one office, people should be free to work from home. Side chats get lost, people forget or don't hear. Slack is public and searchable. No mumbling and if you mistype, you can fix it. Plus you can add documents, links, images while you're talking.

People say getting communication on their phones is like an anchor to their desk but I feel the exact opposite. It means I can leave my desk anytime I want and not be out of communication. If something critical needs my attention, I can answer while I'm home and not go back to work.

Searching in slack is a dumpster fire due to the nature of a chat room (which all slack is). It is impossible to group bits of useful information together. Once a chat gets going in a room about topic A there is absolutely no way to separate that information from another chat going on in the same room. If the answer is "smaller rooms" then that sort defeats the whole purpose of a chat room.

Sorry to say this, but if you are answering things on slack at home, you are "working" and anchored to your phone.

At a previous job, we had a mandatory policy of creating a new Slack chat room for every incident involving 2 or more engineers. This was before threaded messages. It really, really helped.

And then we started making our own clique chat rooms. Then it became mandatory to not have tech discussions in a clique room.

There's a thread feature built into slack if you need to t ake conversations "aside" but in the same channel

Threads are the most horrible and broken feature in Slack ever. So much that I wish we could disable them altogether. The visibility is bad, notifications are bad, the UI is confusing. I don't even understand how can some people use it.

Slack should be your first and primary communication channel

Am I old fashioned in thinking that voice to ear (or nearest equivalent) should have the role of primary communication channel?

It can't be primary. If you're going to schedule a meeting you need a fixed agenda and the right attendees to not waste people's time. If you have an agenda and need a decision made as a group, then definitely call a meeting.

Do you record your voice chats for archival and sharing purposes? Otherwise it's mathematically impossible to communicate all the necessary information in available time. If you transcribe all the chats via machine so people can read them, there's a chance, but much technical material still requires the clarity of written language.

Completely agree. Chats are a perfect way to waste time and proprietary one are a perfect way to depend on someone else for no reasons.

> People say getting communication on their phones is like an anchor to their desk

I’ve been struggling with this lately, to the point where I’ve experimented with going back to a dumb phone, and trying to use my smart phone without Slack. As a remote employee, I think having Slack on mobile has lead to a greater degree of freedom, as you mentioned, but I also wonder if the constant tether is leading me to burnout more quickly.

Just tune your alerts tighter and remind people to @ you if it's something urgent.

Productivity require a good work organization, need a constant communication means a REALLY poor organization or even personal incompetence IMVHO.

Urgent things should be passed by audio (traditional VoIP phone call, not bound to any desk since we have mobile internet and softphones) non-urgent thing goes better via mail instead of wasting people time to look a chats.

Agreed. Synchronous chat is good for small teams who are working on the same thing at the same time, and for banter during lunch break.

Yeah. All jokes aside, Slack is really only good for slacking off.

We use it for upgrades and patching events that have team members from multiple departments. We are all on the same campus (a university) but these events don't require a dedicated meeting room. Slack is perfect for that.

It depends on how you use it. Split up channels into teams and keep the chit chat to special rooms designated for that. I find chats extremely useful, especially compared to being bothered in person or setting up a time to meet with someone. The key is to use it correctly and hoping your company culture supports that.

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