How much time do you spend in Slack?
Are you in control? Or do you constantly switch channels, teasing threads apart?
At Superhuman, we struggled with Slack for a while. Here's how we made it work for us…
The problem with Slack
Back when we were a handful of people, Slack worked great.
But soon, our channels grew exponentially. It became normal to interrupt colleagues. Mornings started with pages of unread channels, each containing dozens of topics jumbled together.
Interruptions and context switches are hazards. Not only do interruptions increase stress, pressure, and frustration, but it takes on average 25 minutes to recover from an interruption.
As Superhuman grew, Slack made us less thoughtful and more stressed.
How we fixed our Slack use
We use Slack if and only if the message is short and needs a response within 3 hours.
In fact, we give clear guidance on when to use each medium:
In order to increase transparency, we define when to @mention and direct message:
- @mention in a public channel in preference to a DM. (See email transparency.)
- DM when you would not CC a mailing list. (See scaling email transparency.)
- If you are DM'ed for something that should be in a channel, move the conversation!
If you're new to the team, then there is of course wiggle room — interrupt as much as you like!
We also encourage the team to switch off notifications to focus on deep work.
By intentionally designing our culture, Slack is once again a beloved and productive tool.