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How to Overcome Slack Fatigue in the Future of Work
March 11, 2022

Missed the latest webinar? Here’s what you need to keep top of mind when managing your #hybridteams. Slack fatigue is real and effective leaders should have strategies in place to prevent or stop it.

What This Webinar Isn’t About

Although the title of this webinar would lead one to believe that it’s going to be solely about Slack and the impacts of the huge drains on our time and attention span, the meat of this webinar is about something much deeper. 

What This Webinar Is About

The focus is really on the fact that Slack is another communication tool (like Teams or Zoom) you can use or misuse. This fatigue exists in our workplaces and extends to an emotional or mental fatigue amongst workers. Breaks are needed, but employees are under constant pressure to deliver and respond, all the time. In this webinar, Bill explains strategies to overcome slack fatigue and beat the “always on” mentality in the workplace and ways the right workstream collaboration platform can help you with.

Always On Doesn’t Mean Always Successful

There is the widely accepted notion that if you are always on, always working, always available, it somehow means you are working harder or getting more done than others. At least that is what the view from management looks like. With the constant stream of messages, emails and other communications coming in at all times of the day or night, there are new tools and platforms that enable this hyper messaging, hyper connectivity, like Slack. 

The fatigue that comes from all of these interactions stems from constant decision making needed to answer the communication. When should a response be sent? Does this require an immediate response? Can this wait? These constant battles and notifications can get exhausting and can detract from the real work that needs to be done.



Real-Time Video vs. Real-Time Chat 

When planning a meeting, the first thing that comes to mind is if this could just be an email, or even a chat between colleagues in real time. If using a hyper messaging app, is there really a difference between meeting on video vs. having a chat in real time?  Bill argues no. The camera off option might provide more comfort by giving you the ability to sit in a more comfortable position. 

Is Work-Life Balance Possible With Hyper-Messaging Apps?


Work-life balance is an important goal many leaders and organizations strive to achieve for their employees. Unfortunately, with the onset of new technology and platforms, hyper-messaging apps enable organizations to cross that work-life balance line. 

The law of contradictions states,  as principle in logic, a thing cannot at the same time both be and not be of a specified kind or in a specified manner. In this case, a CEO can’t promote a healthy work life balance as part of their company culture and at the same time promote this always-on, always-available mentality. The two are mutually exclusive.


As Managers, Ask The Right Questions

At the individual level, how do you want your team to run and communicate? Do you want your team to respond in real time? Or do you want to give them the flexibility to make the choice to say when they are offline and not available? Looking at it this way presents it as e a black or white question, but we all know it’s not so cut and dry. There are definitely shades of gray - like competing deadlines, priorities and fires that pop up on any given day. There’s also the consideration of other employee concerns and priorities. Something you consider urgent might not be to someone else. 

This is the importance of communication and choice for team leaders and managers. It is important to give your teams permission and confidence to make these kinds of choices together or individually.


To Chat or Not to Chat, That Is the Question

Chat might be one the most important features of communication platform your organization leverages, especially for managers and team leaders. It’s important to know how to communicate with your teams in a timely way. 

The good thing about chat is that it can be either synchronous or asynchronous. The bad thing about chat is that people use it for both synchronous and asynchronous communications, when it should be really used for synchronous only. Synchronous communication falls under actions like a video call, phone call or chat, in real time with instant responses. Chats should be used for low-complexity tasks if you want people to participate. If you have to scroll back in the conversation a few days later for information retrieval, there was probably a more efficient way to get your message across.

Once you look at a chat through the lens of synchronous communication and you really understand and internalize it, it's easier to make the decision about when to respond. 



What Is Chat For?


Bill went through the example of when chats should be answered using this helpful quadrant to guide decision making. Ultimately, the manager has to set the stage and give people the autonomy to decide how and when they will respond, depending on urgency.

The Principle of Default Trust

If we are working in a hybrid or remote work environment, we are rarely afforded the luxury of working in the same conference rooms for meetings or the same offices to complete tasks. It’s impossible to keep tabs on everyone. This is the mindset we need to get rid of. According to the principle of default trust, it is the job of managers to set the stage and help their team develop healthy boundaries. It’s not a Slack problem, as the title of this webinar might imply, but really a leadership problem to solve. It is on the managers to trust that their people are doing what they do best to contribute to the overall success of the company.


How to Implement the Principle of Default Trust at Work

It starts with the leaders setting the stage. At ServiceRocket,  our CEO Rob Castaneda frequently updates the entire company with what he’s doing for maximum visibility, whether it is doing something for the business or even taking a break to enjoy time with his family. It’s not enough to just speak about work-life balance, you have to live it yourself. 

The point is that leadership is communicating the outcome that they want to see.  You must prioritize your personal life so that you feel empowered to reschedule or cancel a business meeting because you have something personal in your life to take care of. But the tradeoff is the agreement is to do that ahead of time, to be respectful of your peers.

ServiceRocket, through the use of the workstream collaboration platform Workplace from Meta, has leveraged features of the platform to help implement the principle of default trust. These features include groups, status updates, chats, live streaming and more. Workplace gives employees and leaders the flexibility and autonomy needed to trust others and confidently make decisions.

Seeing your leader as being transparent has a great impact on the rest of the company. It lets everyone know that they are real people just like everyone else. This draws people in and inspires employees to do the best they can and push forward in the face of adversity. 

The table below shows which types of communication methods are best used for these specific Workplace by Meta communication features. 

Workplace from Meta is where Work Gets Done

One of the biggest advantages of leveraging a workstream collaboration platform like Workplace from Meta is the sheer number of features available to address all your communication, collaboration, innovation and engagement needs. The old ways of working aren’t cutting it anymore and we need platforms that allow for both synchronous and asynchronous communication, especially with a dispersed global workforce. Employees should have the option and autonomy to set their availability (within reason) during work hours and it is up to managers to instill the principle of default trust. Workplace from Meta can help get you there. ServiceRocket is here to help.


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