We’ve really been Slacking lately.
I’m not referring to Margarita Mondays (that doesn’t exist, despite my best efforts). I’m talking about Slack, the workplace communication platform that’s taken Silicon Valley by storm and has Outlook fearing for its life.
We adopted Slack a few months ago at Vearsa, doing away with internal email entirely. There were some growing pains, naturally—our CEO made us do fifteen jumping jacks for every email sent, so we were feeling fitter than ever for a week or so—but we’re all believers now. As a small, international company, we’ve found the improved communication and productivity invaluable.
Slack isn’t just a glorified instant messenger. Thanks to a number of handy features, including automatic archiving of all your interactions, easy file sharing, a great search engine, and apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, it’s perfectly suited for work.
As a publisher, why should Slack be on your radar? (I hear you thinking, Is this a paid advertisement? Bear with me.)
Before coming to Vearsa I was an acquiring editor at a Big Five publisher. I can tell you from personal experience, Slack would have been a game changer in my day-to-day productivity. Here’s why:
Each project can have its own chat room (or Channel, in Slack-speak). This means all communication and information for a project is hosted in one place, rather than distilled across several emails.
It’s inclusive. Frequently, people get left off email cc’s. Rather than cc’ing everyone, Slack allows your team to check out the chat history in a specific Channel at their convenience.
It’s easy to share files. Slack integrates both Google Docs and Dropbox, plus it's easy to upload images, documents, and spreadsheets from your local machine.
It means less in-person meetings. Hallelujah! Slack allows for asynchronous meetings, which helps with productivity and uninterrupted workflow. While some in-person meetings are valuable, with Slack you can update your team at their and your convenience, rather than at a certain time every day or week.
It enables remote work. If you’re working remotely (or, you know, if it’s a Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day), sign onto Slack to have some “presence" and remain available to your team.
Your archived interactions build up a searchable knowledge base. Slack not only puts all relevant information about a specific project at your fingertips, it gives you a window into the dynamics of your company: how people interact, who can answer your questions, who the decision makers are at each step in the process.
Here are just a few examples of how Slack might look at a publishing company:
• Book-specific Channels, from pre-acquisition through (and beyond) publication. The ability to quickly retrieve P&Ls, contracts, production schedules, book files, marketing/publicity plans—you name it. Full visibility for all relevant parties: editorial, managing ed, production, marketing, publicity, sales, etc. Be still my heart.
• Streamlined internal communication during negotiations and auctions. Get cleared to seven figures while your boss is at lunch. (Or not, but take some of the pain out of the process.)
• Brainstorming Channels that allow team members to casually field ideas about potential book projects. Drum up in-house excitement for that YouTube video you saw over the weekend within minutes.
• A forum for sharing and discussing industry news and (office appropriate!) gossip. Also, lunch recommendations.
Thinking about becoming a Slacker? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @ePubDirect. (Don’t email me, or I’ll make you do jumping jacks.)
Emilia Pisani, Account Manager at Vearsa
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