Bridging the gap between email and Slack

In today's business world, there are unlimited ways for employees to communicate both internally and externally. And, with the proliferation of instant messaging tools like Slack, Stride and Microsoft Teams, employees are receiving more notifications than ever outside of their normal email inbox messages.

When Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield announced the creation of the workplace app in 2014, he made his intentions about the platform very clear: Slack was going to kill the existence of email in order to make employees' lives simpler and more productive.

Fast-forward five years later, and email is still not dead. In fact, the data shows email use is steadily increasing.

A study by the Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, concluded that email still remains the most pervasive form of business communication.

The study also concluded that email reigns supreme for:

  • Client communication

  • External communication

  • In some instances, internal communication

While email has its limitations, it’s still clearly a key component of daily professional life. As new tools enter the picture to add efficiency, it becomes more important than ever for your business to focus on ways to connect workflows—without overwhelming and overloading your employees. Simply put, you need to bridge the gap between email and other workplace apps like Slack.

How email and Slack work together

In a Jan. 2019 blog post, Slack reported that they currently have more than 10 million daily active users worldwide. And, while that number is impressive, it doesn't come close to the number of worldwide email users.

The aforementioned Radicati Group study also noted that:

  • The number of email users in 2019 is equal to over half of the world's population

  • The average employee sends and receives 126 emails per day

  • The total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day has exceeded 293 billion in 2019

Email is a simple and effective communication tool, but the amount of time an employee spends replying to emails can lower their overall productivity.

Enter: Slack.

The platform was developed to solve this problem with one simple equation: less email equals higher productivity. But, even with the creation of Slack and other similar workplace apps, employees are still being bombarded with messages from multiple communication channels.

A study by RingCentral found that more than two-thirds of employees spend up to an hour at work per day navigating between communication apps.

But if there is clearly a need for both email and Slack, then what is the answer?

Decide when to use email and Slack

If your organization is having a difficult time deciding when to use one communication method over the other, then you must first decide when each tool should be used.

For example, email is best used when:

  • Beginning a business or client relationship

  • A longer, more in-depth and formal message is necessary

  • Maintaining client confidentiality

  • Documenting a chain of communication

Slack is best used when:

  • An employee has a question and needs a quick answer

  • A less formal, real-time and shorter discussion is necessary—“water cooler” discussions

  • Brainstorming or idea-sharing as a group

And, naturally, there's a lot of crossover between the two. These two relied-on forms of communication can and do coexist at many organizations. But, what if your organization could combine the two?

Focus on integrating and automating workflows

Instead of splitting up and utilizing the two based on their strengths and weakness, the right workstream collaboration tool can combine the best of both worlds.

Email is usually the starting point for an organization's workflow, yet it remains siloed, separate from the rest of the work and internal communication that needs to happen. Email also lacks one very important quality that Slack excels in: the ability to collaborate efficiently and effectively.

Taking advantage of a workflow ecosystem can:

  • Bring your email directly into your workflow, eliminating the need to check messages in multiple places

  • Give everyone critical to the project the chance to view, contribute and collaborate in context with the email itself

  • Store email from clients and internal conversations with team members in one central place

As a result, this integration of workflow and communication between team members and clients directly coincides with higher productivity, overall effectiveness, and enhanced visibility and transparency.

Don't be afraid to make change

Many organizations struggle to step outside of their comfort zone and, in turn, are unable to implement important and necessary change.

But, thankfully, there are countless ways to improve communication and collaboration in today's modern workplace. Whether you prefer email or workplace apps, there's no longer a 'pick one side' mentality. With the creation of workstream collaboration tools, you can have it all in one place without sacrificing quality, productivity and efficiency.