Basecamp’s ‘Hey for Work’ Might Fix Your Email Problems

Hey for Work is not for everyone, but if answering email is the worst part of your day, it's probably for you.
Adam Rowe

Work email is kind of terrible: There's too much it, you have to remember who needs a response, and when you dare to take a vacation, it's all ten times worse by the time you get back. But software company Basecamp thinks it has the solution.

Basecamp's hosted email service, Hey, just added a new iteration, Hey for Work. It fields work email, reducing what gets put in front of you and streamlining the process of answering the most important messages.

It's not for everyone, but if answering email is the worst part of your day, it's probably for you.

How Hey works

Hey gives you a new email inbox with a minimalist design. You'll get your own @hey.com email address to go with it, which is sort of the 21st century equivalent of hopping a train to start a new life. If you really need to keep in touch with all your old contacts, that's allowed, too: You can forward email from any old service to Hey.

Here are some top features that you'll get with Hey.

  • The Screener — a section that all first-time emailers get dumped in. This lets users pick and choose who gets to email them, similar to a whitelist for screening phone calls
  • Three locations for the three basic types of email — “Important email you want to read immediately goes to The Imbox, non-urgent email like newsletters that you read occasionally go to The Feed, and things like receipts that you rarely need to read go to The Paper Trail.”
  • Reply Later — hit this button to send important email to its own stack, so you can get to it soon, but not now
  • Spy tracker blocking — Did you know most business email services use a hidden pixel to see when you open their email? Not with this feature, which catches spy trackers from 50 major services.

These features are all available from the main Hey service, for personal use. It launched back in June 2020, so this isn't anything new. But the business version, Hey for Work, adds a bit more.

Hey for work

What the business version does

The structure of work emails, and the behaviors they encourage, seem impossible to eradicate. Hey for Work wants to do just that, and these are the features it thinks can do it.

  • Custom domain — Get rid of the “hey.com” domain and upgrade your professional look
  • Multi-user support — Designed for team use, so you'll have a central interface, useful for billing and management
  • Thread sharing — “Threads” can replace CC-ing and forwarding
  • Collections — Group multiple threads together
  • Private team comments — Talk and view one-on-one communication within a wider email chain
  • Email aliases — Set up business-facing addresses (“support,” “press,” etc.) and channel them to multiple people on your team

Granted, some of these features are the typical tools you'll find in any business-first email service worth its salt, like email aliases and custom domains. The real benefits kick in with Hey for Work's threading and collections abilities, paired with the three-section inbox solution that the core Hey service provides.

Is it worth getting?

Will Hey solve all your problems? That depends on if all your problems are email-related. The truth is, plenty of people out there are fine with their current email. If that's you, then there's a big barrier to transitioning over to Hey: It'll cost you.

The main service is $99 per year, and Hey for Business costs $12 per user per month. Compared to plenty of mainstream and completely free email clients, that's a hurdle. And a big competitor here is Slack, which offers a different solution to some of the same problems — and has seen a lot of success in the space, making it the 800-pound gorilla of workplace communication.

Still, a lot of people out there hate answering email with a white-hot fury. If that's you, Hey offers a two-week free trial to let you get used to it, and if you like what you see, the service might just pay for itself in your lowered blood pressure alone.

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Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.

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