Leading Remote
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Leading Remote

The 3 Biggest Struggles with Slack You Need to Avoid Today

You are using it wrong

Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

Research from Buffer showed that communication is one of the top challenges for remote workers and remove companies. One of the reasons for that is that you don’t have face-to-face contact in a remote environment.

Many companies tried to solve that by using communications tools. Slack became one of the most popular ones in the world. However, many people started to complain about it. Many people are using it wrong.

I founded a gaming company in 2012. In 2014, I decided to get rid of the office. I used Slack all the time with my team. Understanding how to use it wisely helped me build a profitable six-figure business.

Remote work comes with its fair share of challenges the same way that a physical office. Slack is a powerful tool to help improve the communication of your business. You must learn how to use it right.

There are three struggles you need to avoid.

#1 Interruptions

According to a University of California Irvine study, it takes nearly 30 minutes to refocus after getting distracted. Think about the lost time, energy, and money that it represents.

Cal Newport introduced the idea of “deep work” in his book of the same name. It refers to:

“Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

When you work in an office, you may be interrupted by your colleagues taping in your shoulder to talk. The same cannot happen in a remote environment. However, you may be interrupted by Slack notifications. It’s hard to do deep work if you are constantly interrupted.

Dopamine is a chemical produced by our brains that plays a starring role in motivating behavior. It gets released when we take a bite of delicious food and when we have sex. It rewards us for beneficial behaviors and encourages us to repeat them.

However, dopamine can be very addictive. Whether it’s a text message or a “like” on Instagram, every notification has the potential to be a positive social stimulus and dopamine influx. You may be getting many Slack notifications during your workday. Each notification is an interruption.

The most simple and easy thing to do is to disable all notifications on your computer. You don’t need to reply to people or be replied to in real-time. You can also customize what notifications you want to receive. If you think you may face an emergency, you can create a channel on Slack for that.

Many leaders think that if their people don’t reply fast is because they’re not working. They’re away from their computer. The truth is that replying fast means they’re not productive. Constantly asking people what they’re working on prevents them from actually doing the work they have to do.

#2 Typing

There can be too much typing and too little talking when you are using Slack. It’s hard to interpret voice tone when talking via text. You may try to use emojis, but it doesn’t work either.

For most people, it’s more comfortable to write than talk. You have more time to think about the answer. You can write something, erase it and type it again. That can be a waste of time, depending on the subject, tough.

Many professionals decided to have endless Zoom meetings. They want to compensate for the lack of presence that a physical office brings. However, more Zoom meetings are not the answer to improve communication in a remote environment.

You should have Zoom meetings that made sense. Talking via text is good when you don’t need a quick response. However, when you need to enter a more considerable discussion, talking via video is the best option.

#3 Boundaries

You can install Slack on your smartphone and be constantly online. You can check anytime what is going on in your company. You may think that is something good, but that is not healthy.

Many people think that they can run away from the work routine as they work from home and start to work anytime they want. It is not because you can work anytime in your home that you should.

The same way that you have time to start and stop working in an office, you should have one in your home. Having a work routine at your place is essential for productivity. Your brain understands when you should or shouldn’t be working. It’s the same as having a work environment.

You may still send messages on Slack at night or on the weekend if you want to, but don’t expect people to reply. If there is an emergency, you can send a message in a more personal instant messaging platform like WhatsApp. You can also call a person if necessary.

Using Slack doesn’t mean people should be available 24/7.

Final thoughts

The leader of a remote company is the role model for all its employees.

I work with my iPhone on not disturb mode. I also disable all notifications on my computer, even from Slack. When I’m not in the middle of a task, I check if someone needs me.

If I have to have a meaningful conversation, I talk via video. I have a place for work in my home, and I avoid sending messages at night and on the weekend.

I usually wake up at 6 AM, work from 8 AM to 11 AM, go to the gym, and work again from 2 PM to 7 PM. I have a well-defined routine that allows me to organize my time and be productive.

Doing these things sends an indirect message to my team of how they should behave.

If you want your team to be productive from their homes, you should be an example. You should help them to avoid the struggles with Slack.

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