Instant messaging platforms like Slack make it easy to send messages to coworkers, but they can also be distracting when you’re getting interrupted by notifications constantly. Avoid information overload by knowing how and when to use it.
What to do:
Speak in pictures
Use emojis intentionally to improve team communication and collaboration. “At Slack, we know that the eyes emoji means someone’s reviewing, and the checkmark emoji means it’s complete,” says Jaime DeLanghe, the company’s product management head.
Be open whenever possible
“Private channels and DMs have their place, but they should not be the default for where work happens. For remote teams, transparency is akin to oxygen,” says Darren Murph, head of remote at tech company GitLab.
What to avoid:
Don’t forget to log out
Commutes used to provide boundaries. Now that “heading home” means migrating a few steps to the couch, DeLanghe suggests using Slack’s Do Not Disturb feature to pause notifications.
Don’t mix your messages
Chat tools are good for informal communication, Murph says. Then choose a project management platform for discussing actual work. It should be clear, he advises, “where formal and informal communications are supposed to occur.”