hybrid office

Is Slack’s Digital First Mentality Correct?

It is unusual you would hear a company be as bold as suggesting
Companies Miss Out on Talent If Not Offering Remote Work‘.

This is not a new narrative but one that is extremely timely and will resonate with many potential candidates looking to make the shift from other tech giants looking to enforce a return to the office.

In the supported video, Slack’s chief people officer Nadia Rawlinson speaks very openly and well on how Slack are handling remote hiring and talent when it comes to working remotely.

The future of work has to be flexible and hybrid.

Slack is one of the most popular and widely used work chat tool, you would expect to promote the work from anywhere narrative, but their stance on digital-first mentality will help to promote better attitudes when it comes to return to the office conversations and enable more companies to understand if a software company connected to a large organisation will be embracing hybrid many others should do.

It’s important I bring up Slack’s CEO recent famous quote:

“I cannot f*cking do eight hours of zoom calls per day for the rest of my life” – Stewart Butterfield – Slack CEO

Slack has been vocal throughout the pandemic about how the office is just a location where work gets done and work can be completed anywhere given the right tool kit and suite of tools.

Thinking Broader: More Than A Tool It’s Recruiting & Retaining Brilliant Staff

Not just because Slack are a tool for chat and collaboration but a company that are seeing the battle for talent and ensuring ‘location’ is not a negative factor.

As an advocate of hybrid work and employing a hybrid workforce that is empowered through knowledge centres and asynchronous communications I am a big believer that software is a tool to help you improve communication and empower any employee to work from anywhere and have a great experience.

Location and office should never be seen as an excuse for people to not be able to complete their work.

In-Office Vs Anywhere Debate Will Rage On

Apple’s recent turn to the office 3 days per week and re-emphasising its stance this week, has come under internal pressures, with fellow brands like Google and Facebook have also suggested all employees have to be flexible but in the office 3 days per week.

A key slide from the future of work keynote presentation – why so many brands are focusing in on 3 days per week vs addressing the problems of making work better

Apple’s Monday, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s is another version of TWATS (Tuesday’s, Wednesday, Thursday’s) which began popular.

Enforcing everyone being in the office does not mean better work is done, it just throws people into the same space and operates the same way they use to work vs a better way of working and fixing many issues faced previously.

Slack (and parent Salesforce) are being smart at not only saying the right things in business and trade interviews but introducing brand new tools like slack huddles enabling real-time audio chats, these features are steps towards truly building software for a hybrid work world not an office-centric work world.

Some things can be synchronous, but only take three minutes. Instead of [scheduling a meeting for] next Tuesdays from 11:30 to 12 and [using] the whole half hour because that’s what we scheduled, it’s two or three minutes, right now,
And if the conversation fizzles out in the Huddle you leave it open, maybe someone joins later and says something, which you wouldn’t do on a call,” — Stewart Butterfield Slack CEO

In Person Bias AKA Proximity Bias

Slack’s has worked well on their framing and highlighting how many businesses with proximity bias are missing out on great staff and a lack of options will lower staff happiness, employee experience and ultimately lose talented candidates and create a potential retention issue.

WorkChronicles have some amazing graphics that depict how many organisations are feeling and going to be defaulting to the ways we have always done it

Are Slack Right? Should We Work From Anywhere & The Future Of Work

In my recent keynote the future of work I suggest we have to embrace the work from anywhere movement.

The ways businesses win in 2021 and beyond is to bring in the right processes, bring in the right tools and train teams, bring in more coaches and mentors, It is important we re-consider what we think is right and the way we have always done and it make software work harder for us vs us working into software’s workflow.

All in all, Slack are correct we are now digital-first, whether your business is set up for fully remote or a flexible hybrid model, we have to embrace the future of work is digital-first, it does not have to be in person – face to face in the traditional sense, it can be through video, it can be through more modern audio channels and asynchronous work.

We can improve this mindset and our set-up with more thought, more deliberate planning, better tools and more training.

Listen to a fuller take on the future state of work podcast:

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Danny Denhard