3 things we love about Slack (and 3 changes we’d like to see)

It’s clear that Slack, the messaging-app-turned-workflow-powerhouse, is doing something right. Thousands of organizations across the globe rely on Slack for daily internal communications, cutting down on emails and meetings, and saving companies and employees time. But there’s always room for improvement! We asked around and found 3 major things people love about Slack, and 3 changes we’d like to see.

3 things people love

1. Making remote employees part of the team

Working remotely has its perks: the flexibility to clack on a keyboard from a favorite coffee shop, while you’re traveling, or even from your own bed. But there are drawbacks, too. It can feel like you’re missing out on the casual bonding that happens over lunch or at the coffee machine, making it easy for remote workers to feel disconnected from the rest of the company.

Slack can help bridge that gap, says Jon Brodsky, the CEO of Finder U.S. “When everything was done by email, our remote employees kind of felt like second-class citizens, but with Slack it’s not a big handicap anymore,” he says. “Now many of our most senior people work from home. The real-time communication is hard to beat.”

2. The efficiency of bots

Bots are one of the coolest and most useful features of Slack. A bot can send DMs, be mentioned, post messages, upload files… just about anything within the realm of programming. Brodsky’s favorite bot is one that takes the company’s weekly juice order. “It just pings you and asks what you want, and then sends your order off to the juice company,” he says. “It took what used to be a massive manual process and made it a two-second thing.”

3. Decentering email

Email can sometimes feel like a black hole, sucking your time away as you get ensnared in increasingly minute queries. If your team is on Slack, email loses a lot of its gravitational pull.

“I spend much less time in my inbox — it’s no longer the center of my work life, no longer a weed I have to hack back to submission,” says Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer. “This is the main shift I’ve experienced, and it’s a big one.”

Dichter also has noticed that it’s easier to track what’s actually in his inbox when it’s only for external correspondence.

3 changes people would like to see

1. No native video or audio recording.

This isn’t a dealbreaker, but the lack of native recording capabilities is a bit baffling to some users.

“You should be able to hit a button and record audio or video from Slack,” says Nick Sonnenberg, CEO of virtual assistant marketplace, Leverage.

There are workarounds to be found among the third-party apps Slack integrates with, but it seems like a natural addition to a tool focused on communication.

2. Limited channel organization

While dutifully following naming conventions for your channels can mitigate this, they can still be confusing to navigate once there are a couple hundred channels to sort through. “I’d like to see a folder system for channels,” says Sonnenberg.

A way to cluster channels would make the sidebar less visually overwhelming, and would shift the onus of organizing channels away from users.

3. The difficulty of using bots (sort of)

Bots have all sorts of potential, but if you don’t have a ton of tech savvy people on the roster it limits the possibilities for their development and use. “We love the bots, but we wish it was easier to create it without technical expertise,” Broadsky says.  “We have to have a programmer handle it instead.”

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