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'We were made for this': How Slack became king of the remote-work world

Work from home

Although Slack also runs on Slack, the company had a work-at-office culture. As the company closed its offices in March, the executive made a series of decisions to make its mission clearer: Slack would take care of its people first during this crisis. In turn, those employees would take care of their customers.

  • They offered to reimburse each employee up to $500 for whatever equipment they needed to do their jobs at home.
  • When the schools closed, they advised people to work when they could.
  • They encouraged their employees to log out and take care of their kids and families.
  • They offer to pay employees their full salaries.

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'We were made for this': How Slack became king of the remote-work world

'We were made for this': How Slack became king of the remote-work world

https://www.fastcompany.com/90490741/we-were-made-for-this-how-slack-became-king-of-the-remote-work-world

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

The quick rise

Slack makes it possible for tens of millions of employees to have online conversations, ask questions, share information, make decisions. The platform reproduces the culture of the open-plan office by combining smartphone text messaging with the ability to separate and chronicle streams of workplace communication.

In 2020, there was an increase in number of people working from home and universities canceled in-person classes. Monday, March 9, 2020, Slack’s worldwide connected users hit an all-time high.

Slack became indispensable

Investors had been wary of Slack since it went public in June 2019 because of its slowing growth, lack of profitability, and competition from Microsoft's competing product called Teams.

But as business swerved to avoid contagion, people were flocking to Slack's product to cope with disaster. Slack became a critical service, like Wi-Fi or electricity.

Work from home

Although Slack also runs on Slack, the company had a work-at-office culture. As the company closed its offices in March, the executive made a series of decisions to make its mission clearer: Slack would take care of its people first during this crisis. In turn, those employees would take care of their customers.

  • They offered to reimburse each employee up to $500 for whatever equipment they needed to do their jobs at home.
  • When the schools closed, they advised people to work when they could.
  • They encouraged their employees to log out and take care of their kids and families.
  • They offer to pay employees their full salaries.

Made for this time

A lot of people are relying on Slack at this moment. They ensure that offices can keep on functioning.

"There's a feeling inside that the company was made for this crisis," says Slack's CTO, Cal Butterfield.

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Working from home

Before the pandemic, only 4 percent of the US workforce worked from home at least half the time. However, the trend of working from home had been gaining momentum for years.

It is estimated that within a couple of years, 30% of people will work from home multiple days per week.

Continued remote work
  • Before the pandemic, a lot of company management and leaders were skeptical regarding remote work. But the skepticism will go away because companies recognize that remote work does work.
  • The economic impact of the pandemic will likely force employers to cut costs. They may reduce their rent by letting workers work from home instead of layoffs.
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Staying home during the pandemic helps prevent health systems from being overloaded.
Overloading hospitals can likely be averted with protective measures like closing schools, canceling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, self-isolation, avoiding crowds. All these keep the virus from spreading fast.

Remote-first Mindset

Accept that you have to put in place remote work systems, even if more than half of your employees ultimately revert to office-based work.

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Build a socially-connected culture

Intentionally design for the same interactions that would otherwise happen if people were in the office.

  • Culture is what naturally happens when a group of people gets together for any period.
  • A great culture happens with intentional design and influence. It's the reason you should make your company's mission, vision, values, operating principles, standards, and agreements visible. 
  • Culture is experienced through emotions, including how your employees feel about the company, you, other leaders, and peers. That feeling is developed through human interaction at the water cooler, kitchen, or hallway conversations.
Your leadership presence

Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

  • Regularly show up in a variety of forms that can include weekly video meetings, periodic company-wide emails, or presence in public channels.
  • Err on the side of more communication rather than less.

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The global crisis of the 2020 Pandemic, resulting in billions in lockdown, has resulted in 16 million people signing up for Netflix in March, taking the total subscribers to 183 million.

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Consumer companies around the world are in limbo. They are groping in the dark due to a lot of variables in the current situation.

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Remote Work During The Pandemic
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The Start Of Online Shopping

While online shopping was huge enough before 2020, it has become truly mainstream due to the push provided by the pandemic.

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Telemedicine and telehealth

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Virtual healthcare recognized
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  • Telehealth uses virtual interactions between individual doctors and patients. You may have a bad sore throat and download the telehealth app, where you will be connected to a physician who can examine you and prescribe medicine.

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Potential disadvantages of virtual health care

Telemedicine has been a hard sell in some areas.

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4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

Remote workers tend to have higher engagement rates and higher productivity levels. Once they switch to remote work, they rarely want to become office bound again.

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Asynchronous Communication

.. .is defined as working with tools that don’t demand an immediate response.

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Well Thought Out Actions

Asynchronous communication allows you to think and reflect before taking action. 

While real-time communication is all-important, the global crisis and work-from-home culture have made us realize the productivity benefits of non-real time communication.

Asynchronous Video

Constant video interaction is great to look as if you are working but isn’t the best use of your time. Rather than being on the video call for everything, it’s better to make a video recording of the particular action (in your own time) and let others see it when they can.

Use asynchronous video to be able to show your face and expressions when needed, getting in touch the real way in a remote setting. This leaves time for your 'deep work' activities.

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