Is Slack Killing Work Productivity?

June 17, 2016

5:00 pm

Work productivity is often a hot topic for those looking to have a more productive day. From having the right work environment, to having solid work habits to start your day off on the right foot, having the right tools in place can help your workday run smoother.

But when it comes to having the right tools, can they really help your workday be more productive – or lead to the opposite?

The rise of workday tools like Slack has made some feel that their workday has become more productive. The real-time interaction that employees and coworkers now have is drastically different from the limited communication that emailing provided. However, some feel that Slack and similar platforms actually reduce workday productivity.

In an article on LinkedIn, Laurent Gasser writes on how the backlash against these tools that are meant to increase productivity:

“It seems that Slack’s strategy for freeing us from the tyranny of our email inboxes involves doing it with a constant stream of chatter. People are complaining about Slack’s own ‘neverending flow' of information.”

Whether you work in tech support, customer service, sales, or sysops, Slack can be an invaluable resource for these fields. However, the challenge can be for creatives and those who require time to produce their work with uninterrupted flow. There, Slack and other in-demand real-time tools can be overwhelming.

A Guilded article by Teejay VanSlyke says that this difficulty could be caused by the “on-demand culture” that constant availability apps create:

“But Slack represents a destructive psychological shift in the way we conduct creative work: The always-on always-available culture amplifies anxiety and destroys real productivity by putting our attention up for auction in a highly distracting and unactionable environment… When there's an unspoken, implicit expectation that we'll be on Slack all day long, we begin to measure our personal productivity in terms of our response to chatter instead of in terms of the completion of our most critical tasks. We lose control of our time and what was once creative, intentional work turns into a constant stream of opinions, anecdotes, and noise.”

So, what is the middle ground? Teejay VanSlyke suggests checking both email and Slack a certain number of times a day – two to be specific. Focusing on checking these platforms once in a morning and once at the end of the workday may be the key to getting back workday productivity that can be lost from being available. Keeping this in mind, workday productivity can have a shift coming.

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Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she's using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she's not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color. Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.