Love it or hate it, Slack is a fact of life in many offices. The company reports 9 million daily active users in companies in 100 countries, including 43 of the Fortune 500. Its functionality, powered by many apps, as well as its ease of use, are among the reasons people love it.
“Most of our ‘hallway conversations’ can’t be referenced later, so you have to write it down or forget it. With Slack, your conversations are your notes, which gives you a productivity boost because you don’t have to go back and take notes later,” says Josh Braaten, cofounder and CEO of Brandish Insights, a brand analytics platform.
But like any popular tool, Slack has triggered a host of pet peeves in its users. Here are five of the common annoying Slack habits and how to curb them.
“The No. 1, hands-down, most irritating Slack behavior” is overuse of the “enter” key after each word or sentence instead of writing a response and hitting enter once, Braaten says. “As the receiver of the chats, you’re bombarded with an endless barrage of notification sounds, which gets maddening after about the fifth Slack message received in 20 seconds. These people are super annoying!” Write what you need to communicate, then hit enter once to transmit the entire message.
Trave Harmon, CEO of technology and IT support firm Triton Technologies, says his office loves Slack, but “abuses” it. Many of his annoyances come from inappropriate use of @ functions. “People not reading what channel they are in and thinking that a common post is meant only for their eyes. They respond with inappropriate information,” he says.
Also, he says it’s a problem when people create multiple channels for specific details instead of using general summaries, which usually suffice. Be aware of the channel you’re in, and be sure you’re sending the message to the best possible audience on the platform instead of spamming recipients or sharing inappropriate information with the wrong group.
Slack is easy to use, which makes it tempting as a vehicle to quickly connect with coworkers for any reason. That can lead to oversharing—”thinking that it is like Facebook, in which you can reveal anything you want”—or other inappropriate communication on what is meant to be a business platform, Harmon says.
Chit-chat throughout the day is another problem, says Andy Abramson, CEO of Comunicano, Inc., a communication and brand strategy firm. One member of the communications team at a large university, who asked not to be identified, said that employees were recently warned against having “back-channel conversations” on Slack during meetings, which was common, because it was distracting and detracted from meeting participation. “You’d hear the tell-tale ‘knocking’ noise of the alerts,” she says.
Just as some people say things via email or social media that they would be unlikely to say in person, Slack removes some of the nuance from sensitive situations. “We all make mistakes, but shaming your colleagues through Slack is unacceptable –especially in a public channel. You wind up inviting in the opinions of all of your other colleagues through Slacks, emojis, and memes,” says Andrea Mocherman, who works in marketing communications at cloud-based communications provider Flowroute.
Just Not “Getting” It
Some people just don’t get Slack or its etiquette—and that can be annoying. “It’s important to understand the etiquette and opportunities in order to ‘get’ Slack and make the most of it,” Braaten says. They participate inappropriately, send messages to the wrong people, and fail to listen for the tone and culture of the Slack group before diving in.
“Ask yourself what annoys you on Slack, and then look through some of your chats to see if you’ve done those things. Also look for signs of post engagement. For example, if you post a lot of GIFs in a channel and no one is adding reactions, you probably aren’t posting the best GIFs. But if people are adding thumbs up, laughing face emojis, and other positive indicators, you’re probably doing okay,” Braaten says.