Thu Jan 07 2021

8 etiquette tips for using Slack

Here are my thoughts on how you can use Slack to get work done with irritating your colleagues and teaching them a few things too

If you are reading this I assume that you have used Slack, my dear friend. Slack is without a doubt one of the best workplace communication tools I have used because it is a joy and fun experience while providing me with access to all functionalities like making groups for workplace project, threads to reply to messages, ability to send files, host quizzes (the list is endless really!). And I know that I am not the only one who is a big fan of Slack because a lot of the colleagues I have worked with across different industries feel the same way. 

Slack is great for the most part. But sometimes there are certain ways in which people use it that it could be annoying and actually interfere with your work (and even life outside work sometimes! 😱). So I scratched my head about the things that irritate me about communication on Slack and came up with a little list that might help to improve your Slack game

1. Posting irrelevant content on channels

The channels on Slack are there for a reason and that is to share content that belongs in it. Anything that is irrelevant on these channels will lead to confusion and lead to the rest of your colleagues not knowing where to write when the need arises. 

2. Slack bombing

Slack bombing is when you send a series of a message when all these messages could have been sent in one go. Such messaging could be very distracting when you are in the flow during coding or in a meeting as the constant notification might lead you to think that something needs your urgent attention when it is simply a case of Slack bombing. 

3. Messages outside work hours

Now this one is rather tricky because it has been a problem long before Slack came along. It is, however, important to remember that most people prefer to keep their work at work so that they can enjoy their well earned time away from work in peace. This does not mean that you cannot reach them on urgent business, but just be careful about what you consider urgent business as overuse of this might just make your colleague resent you. 

4. Not using threads

Slack has this super-nifty feature where you can start a conversational thread on a message you have received. This makes it super easy to focus communication one specific issue when there are many, before moving onto the next one. I am a huge fan of this feature!

5. Using public channels for private chats

Do you know how it’s a little strange when some people (usually your older relatives) use each others Facebook walls as a chatroom for discussing private stuff? Well, that’s exactly what it looks like when someone uses a private channel for discussing things that could have been done over a public message. Remember to use the public channels for the public service announcements. 

6. Using company-wide mentions liberally

The internet is a wonderful place and there so many great memes we have to yet see, but please don’t use company-wide mentions like @Channel and @Here for these. Doing this makes everyone distracted from their work and could be very irritating as it takes a sizable amount of time for your colleagues to get into a productive zone. 

7.Leaving messages in the air

Mentions, as I said earlier, should be done with care and only when you need to. But there is also a time and place for such mentions as you would be throwing questions into the air if not. Remember, identify who you want to communicate to and pick the best channel to do so. 

8. Not acknowledging messages

Slack is great because it allows for instant messaging with 0 waiting time as with email. So make sure you acknowledge message because the other person might be waiting for you to acknowledge the receipt of important tasks. Such acknowledgements don’t have to be wordy-  I use ✅  to acknowledge the receipt of a message, 👀 to show that I will think about it and 🚫 to say no.

To conclude

Slack is definitely a lifesaver and has shaved off countless hours of my workday thanks to its instant messaging features. But remember, great power comes with great responsibility (thanks uncle Ben), so make sure you use Slack in an empathetic manner in order to keep your project running in tip-top shape with happy colleagues.