A couple years ago I downgraded our premium Slack account to the free version. $6,000 per year saved.
Then team members and outside partners threw a fit.
“But I can’t see every message I’ve ever sent on Slack, including all the amazing gifs my coworkers sent me?”
“But I have to send messages through email or Google Drive [both which cost a fraction of Slack for a company] to have a record of what I said I’d do?”
“But it’s slightly harder to add outside people to our Slack account now?”
And that was about it. There weren’t many other substantive arguments I heard for us paying $6,000 a year for a tool that I think is bad for individual and company productivity.
I enjoyed relishing in our now free Slack account with basically zero negative consequences other than the occasional jest from a team member directed at me. (I estimate I received five of these a month after the change, meaning each one cost me about $100 – I’ll take it). But something was missing…
I still found myself jumping on Slack, checking messages, messaging other people, anxiously waiting for replies instead of doing something more important…like working.
The next time you’re in a coffee shop, take a glance at people’s computers (I do it all the time, so far nobody has said anything). I can nearly guarantee you’ll see a pattern consistent with my observations: about 50% to 90% of people are either in email, on Slack, or on Facebook even they clearly intended to do real work.
Sending and responding to digital messages is the lowest form of work. What matters more? Learning and creating. Some back-and-forth communication is necessary, though I think a good old phone call is best. 90% of your day shouldn’t be in a digital communication tool such as Slack. If so, you’re killing your productivity and hurting the company you work for or own.
After the mini revolt from our Slack downgrade, I didn’t think I could pull off getting rid of Slack for the whole company. So I did the next best thing, I transferred ownership of our Slack account to our main manager, deleted my account, and removed the Slack app from every device I own.
I told everyone if they needed anything from me to text me or give me a call. I let them know that I don’t get notifications from texts, so if they really needed something, they’d have to call my cell.
What’s happened since?
I receive a handful of texts a day from people on the team and maybe one phone call. That’s a heck of a lot less compared to the hundreds of Slack messages that used to go back and forth everyday between me and them.
Now I don’t have to worry about a bunch of messages sitting in Slack waiting for my reply. Instead, I can peacefully do my work, read, and plan with a little less of the low-level anxiety induced from thinking there’s always someone waiting on me for something.
Goodbye Slack. It was never that good.