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article imageIs Slack aiding or inhibiting work?

By Tim Sandle     May 8, 2019 in Technology
The collaboration hub Slack may help us to work better or it may stifle the flow of work and affect innovation. New commentary from Vox weighs in on the benefits or otherwise of tools like Teams, Slack, and Workplace.
Enterprises looking for technology that can enable a more collaborative form of working, and ideally technology that functions in an engaging way, are increasingly turning to tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Slack, and Facebook's Workplace. These digital platforms, utilizing cloud technology, enable users and teams can work together on projects, such as new products or to draw up budgets. The tools also provide real-time messaging, document sharing and options to make video calls.
These tools are also potentially profitable for the companies who provide them. Slack, for example, is to make $100 million worth of shares available through its public flotation. IDC assesses the global “team collaborative applications” market to be worth upwards of $3.5 billion.
The providers of such workplace technology are also continuing to innovate, in what is becoming a competitive marketplace. For instance, Slack's is building technology that will tell a user how their language changes depending on the time and who the user is talking to.
But how useful are these tools to the modern enterprise? Are they boosting productivity and creativity, or they creating an addiitonal distraction, pulling people away from getting the job done? Writing in Vox, Rani Molla weighs in on the debate.
On the side that workplace tools aid productivity is McKinsey, who note how often people at work spend time looking for others or having to use different applications to share information. Workplace tools offers the means to reduce such inefficiencies.
On the other hand Molla notes how many employees are using workplace tools to send an increasing number of messages, many of which have little relevance or value to the workplace, overwhelming workers with 'digital noise'. Furthermore, there is little sign of workers in companies where the tools are in place using email less, meaning that messages are often doubled-up on. It is also noted that a new productivity tool should be used less than the tool that it ha replaced, otherwise the time savings expected are never realized.
The general thrust of the argument relating to the use of workspace tools is that, with any type of technology, it needs to be thought through in term so how it will be used and the use needs to be moderated in some way, so that the full extent of the efficiencies can be realized.
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