Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on helpful apps. We focus on a variety of products that are useful for work, personal use, or both, providing our own thoughts on the apps and what you can do with them. This week we get social in the office with Slack.
An intro to Slack
As the name implies, the idea behind Slack is to offer a more relaxed communication option in the office while also being an alternative to email. Particularly handy for projects and teamwork that benefits from staying in constant contact, Slack looks to reduce the need for reading long and unnecessary email threads through a group chat feature that more closely resembles instant messaging apps or even your own private Twitter feed. The app is making waves, with 5 million downloads on Android alone, and with an accompanying website for those who don’t use their phone in the office.
Because the app is specifically aimed at businesses, users don’t need to disclose personal information, making the app preferable when setting group chats with colleagues or freelancers that you may not know too well or feel comfortable inviting to personal networks like WhatsApp. The groups you set up are also customisable, letting you install additional apps such as memos and reminders as well as PayPal accessibility, all with the aim of wiping out the email.
Setting up personal work streams and channels of communications without having to input personal information is certainly refreshing for any social media, and will encourage people to take it on board over alternatives. That said, we found that the app isn’t too accessible for those who don’t know their way around a phone, and many office workers will find the complicated invitation process off-putting. The lack of a central hub menu was particularly noticeable, as I found myself accidentally backing out of the app when trying to return to a different feature.
Is Slack the email-killer? Unlikely, the king of office communication won’t be dethroned this easily, but I’d recommend it as a business resource over social media apps like Twitter, WhatsApp or Skype, so long as you take the time to set it up.
You can download the app for free on Apple, Android and Microsoft devices, and you can visit their website here