Your Slack habits just became a little more visible to your boss.
Slack, a work-oriented chatroom that around five million people across the world use every day, launched a new analytics dashboard this week.
In many workplaces, Slack is as important as email. It is also structured like a social network, which makes it potentially much more distracting. The dashboard tracks Slack activity levels for channels and team members, allowing administrators to compare trends over time.
Team administrators already knew who was sending the most Slack messages—Slack sends them weekly email summaries that include this information, and data covering a 7-day period was accessible in previous paid versions of the product—but Slack’s latest update allows anyone with access to the dashboard to dig deeper.
Now your boss can search for specific team members, which wasn’t possible before, and also see on how many days, within a set period of time, specific people used Slack to send or read a message.
The new dashboard, which looks slightly different depending on the version of Slack that your company subscribes to, makes it easy to sort team members by the number of days they were active on Slack within a time period, or the number of messages they sent during that time within private channels, public channels, and direct messages combined. That makes it easy to see, for instance, who on the team typically logs onto Slack every day, including weekends, or who posts the fewest messages. The dashboard does not break down where specific people posted messages or the content of messages (though employers can access this data for compliance purposes using another process).
By default, everyone on a Slack team has access to the analytics page, though team administrators can change this setting to make access more exclusive.
Slack suggests that its customers use analytics to understand how the product “fits into their daily workflows.” For instance, when activity spikes in a certain channel, such as customer service support tickets, it can indicate a problem. Pinpointing a worker who uses Slack frequently, Slack suggests, could help “find early adopters and highly active users whose stories may benefit others in your company.”
But of course, it’s possible to draw other conclusions from how specific workers and topic channels rank in Slack activity. So whether you do so little work that you never need to communicate with your team, spend all day posting gifs to fun channels, or are feeling overwhelmed by the number of red dots you attend to every day, it’s probably good to keep in mind that your boss, and perhaps coworkers, if they have access to the dashboard, can easily see your Slack habits.