The nature of work has been upended. It’s more connected and more complex. According to new research from the communication tool Slack, over half of today’s knowledge workers collaborate with colleagues in different time zones, while also managing an explosion of software applications. Taken together, it’s no wonder companies as diverse as a small California dairy farm, DevaCurl, and Target (all Slack customers) have reconsidered the tools they use to move work forward.
When email becomes a part-time job
In 1971, when the first email was sent, we took an important step toward the future of communication. But over the past 48 years, modern workplaces have undergone profound changes. Email has not. Its functionality hasn’t kept pace with the world in which it’s used.
Perhaps this is why, according to Slack’s 2019 State of Work report, people who receive more than 50 emails per day are more likely to say that communicating with coworkers is difficult. They’re also twice as likely as minimal email users to have problems accessing the information they need to do their job.
No wonder—email management has become a job of its own. According to a McKinsey study, the average professional spends 28% of their workday reading and responding to email. And a time management study published in the Harvard Business Review found that professionals waste up to 14 minutes a day trying to organize and find emails. Another 11 minutes get lost archiving email. Sifting through irrelevant email—all those newsletters you keep meaning to unsubscribe from, or the list you shouldn’t have been on anyway—takes up another eight minutes. What’s more, email doesn’t allow for the kind of dynamic exchanges that fuel creativity and connection.
A solution for today’s workplace—and tomorrow’s
Enter Slack: a new way of working that replaces email inside your company. With Slack, teams operate in channels—a single place for messaging, data, apps, tools, and files. Channels can be grouped by team, project, client, office location, or in any other way that makes sense for your organization. It’s easy for people to join and leave channels as needed: No more “Can someone please add me to the budget planning distro?” emails. Or “Just following up on this request to get added to the budget planning distro!” emails.
Pinned items and advanced search across all channels—both active and archived—keep key items at everyone’s fingertips and prevents information from getting stranded in one person’s inbox. Plus, with integrated file-sharing and screen-sharing, everyone can review and discuss the latest version of a project, all in one place.
The results speak for themselves. The State of Work report found that 81% of knowledge workers who use collaborative tools like Slack say they’re dialed into company strategy, making it easier for them to execute it. Another study, conducted by IDC on behalf of Slack, found that on average:
- Sales teams using Slack had a 21% faster response time to leads and a 25% increase in potential deals per year.
- Engineering teams using Slack increased output by 5% and reduced testing and iteration time by 27%.
- Marketing teams using Slack spent 8% less time launching campaigns.
- Customer support teams using Slack reduced ticket resolution time by 31%.
As the complexity of work grows at accelerated rates, it’s time to close your inbox and ask the big question: Can our collaboration tools keep up?
This article was produced by Quartz Creative on behalf of Slack and not by the Quartz editorial staff.