Why Slack makes you unproductive
Let me paint you a picture. You're in a Zoom meeting listening to Sarah give her presentation on the quarterly metrics. It's boring, but you're managing to stay awake.
Ding! A wild Slack notification appears and you click on it. It's a message from Randy asking you to review a document. You begin to reply and a conversation ensues, then you faintly hear in the background "Thanks for listening, let’s all touch base on our takeaways next week. Have a great rest of your day." At that moment you realize you've missed the last 5 minutes of the presentation and have no clue what conclusions the team came to.
If this sounds familiar, it's because millions of you experience that on a regular basis. Let's face it, Slack is a great tool, but it's a huge distraction and kills overall productivity. Let's explore why, and then get into how Vork solves the problem.
What Slack got right
Before I rip on Slack 😜, I'd like to quickly go over what Slack got right. Slack wasn't the first real-time messaging system (IRC anyone?), but they were the first to make it easy and accessible for teams, which has drastically changed how we communicate at work.
While I do have certain issues with Slack, I can't ignore the great contributions it's added to the workplace and for that I'm grateful.
Ok, now for the fun part.
Slack makes you slack off
Slack is designed to always be in the foreground, Vork is designed to be in the background.
Studies have shown that on average people check Slack every 5 minutes. Yes you read that correctly EVERY. FIVE. MINUTES. Let that sink in. You don't need a psychologist or neurologist to tell you why that's bad, but here's one anyway.
Slack has so much going on that many times you spend more time Slacking off than doing your actual work. With hybrid and distributed teams relying heavily on Slack it's no wonder many people have reported working longer hours remotely.
Even more suprising is that Slack themselves have acknowledged that multiple disruptions hinder productivity. Its quite ironic isn't it?
You might be asking yourself: "If Slack recognizes that disruptions make you unproductive, why don't they fix it?" Great question. The simple answer is that if they fixed it, Slack wouldn't be Slack. Let's be clear, Slack is a phenomenal messaging tool, but it's not a productivity tool. Slack gives you the functionality (ie. extensions) to attempt to make it a productivity tool, but it's a flexible instant messaging tool at its core.
How Vork Differs
Vork is async first, meaning that it's designed so that you can focus on your work and reply once you have time. To put things plainly, Slack is designed to always be in the foreground, Vork is designed to be in the background.
Slack has no guidelines
If I've learned anything about managing people, it's that people are notoriously bad at establishing and maintaining guidelines at scale.
As mentioned earlier, Slack isn't inherently bad, it's actually a great tool and has proven to be vastly better than email for most conversations. Slack's achilles heel is that it has no enforced guidelines.
Want to use threads? Optional. Want to mute notifications? Optional. Busy? Update your status or maybe close Slack or maybe use an extension. Want to share documents? Attach them or maybe use the Google Drive extension or ...
Slack is almost too good at what it does and that's what makes it a burden to use at times. Slack is built with flexibility in mind and thus it's built for you to configure it the way that works best for you. The problem is, however, that this rarely scales well. If I've learned anything about managing people, it's that people are notoriously bad at establishing and maintaining guidelines at scale and that's no different with Slack. Unless there's strong leadership upholding company / team guidelines, Slack tends to become a conversation mine field.
How Vork Differs
Vork is opinionated. We give you the tools that enforce best communication practices. No need to manage guidelines, we do that for you:
Threads? Every conversation starts as a topic. Mute Notifications? Notifications are muted by default so you can check replies on your own time. Status? What status? Vork is async by default. Extensions? What extensions? Use Vork for what it's made for: communication and collaboration.
Why Slack can't be the future of workpace communication
As you can see Slack is a great tool, but it's not built for the future of work. Slack by design enables bad communication behaviour and with hybrid and remote work being the future, communication platforms need to maximize productivity by enabling healthy communication and collaboration. With that said, if you want all the bells and whistles and feel as though you're capable of managing a growing Slack workspace yourself then Slack may be the tool for you.
If you just want to get work done, then Vork is definitely the tool for you.
Vork is currently in closed beta so we don't recommend you make a full switch just yet, but if you would like to try it out and give feedback, feel free to sign up for the beta here: https://govork.com