The hybrid working environment involving remotely working employees and limited in-office staff could get a lot better with new features that Slack has introduced. Scheduled Send, Video Messages, and Huddles Audio Chat is set to simplify and improve informal communication that was all but lost during the pandemic.
.@SlackHQ has introduced new 'digital-first' features including Slack Huddles, an audio-first way of communicating within Slack.
— Cheddar News 🧀 (@cheddar) June 30, 2021
Slack confirms three new features available immediately for paying subscribers:
Slack claims the new features will enable users working remotely to communicate with their colleagues in a more seamless and natural manner. The company has clearly modeled these features on the typical in-office, informal communications that often happen at the water cooler.
Slack’s version of Clubhouse, Huddles, is here and it’s basically how I have been using Slack for months: Quick and easy voice chats. https://t.co/t9CEb9Cwcn
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) June 30, 2021
Stewart Butterfield, CEO, and co-founder of Slack indicated the new digital tools could potentially supplement traditional in-person collaboration.
Slack is also rolling out Slack Atlas. The feature should help new hires joining teams of people they may never have met.
Today @SlackHQ launched Slack Huddles, a lightweight, audio-first way to communicate in channels. I used this as an excuse to interview Noah Weiss (@noah_weiss) and Anna Niess about Slack’s product culture. 🧵⤵️ pic.twitter.com/zqRkr1NZMl
— Ken Norton (@kennethn) June 30, 2021
Slack Atlas acts as an indexing device to allow employees to familiarize themselves with multiple aspects of their new employer. The feature provides organizational structure, employee start dates, and custom fields.
Slack Atlas also integrates with tools such as Workday. This ensures profile data automatically populates, is always relevant, and up to date.
Slack Huddles aims to address hurdles faced during the transition to a Hybrid Workplace:
Slack Huddles is essentially “lightweight audio calls that you and your colleagues can jump in and out of while working,” explained Butterfield. The feature could work as a stand-in for the informal conversations colleagues used to have across desks before ‘Work from Home’ happened.
Incredibly excited for the roll out of Slack Huddles today. We've been using it for months now to have quick clarifying convos, replace meetings, and have better, more contextual 1:1s.
The team did an incredible job and we hope it helps you work a little better together ❤️ pic.twitter.com/dm9J0GTOPF
— Kyle Turman (@kyleturman) June 30, 2021
Slack is focusing on audio with Huddles rather than video. However, the platform will offer a screen-sharing feature in the near future, promised Slack’s CEO.
“It allows for two- or three-minute conversations. If you have to schedule a call… you talk for the full 30 minutes instead of the two or three minutes you needed right at that moment.”
Slack users can quickly create an informal channel or DM, and Huddles offers shared communications across companies. The whole experience is deliberately casual which attempts to mimic colleagues having a quick chat.
🎲 Recreate the serendipity and creativity of the office
Working remotely, we’re more over-scheduled with meetings than ever.
We miss the:
• Shoulder taps for quick feedback
• Post-meeting debriefs
• Hallway morning run-ins
• Quick whiteboard brainstorms pic.twitter.com/skyKh6Dybr
— Noah Desai Weiss (@noah_weiss) June 30, 2021
Slach Huddles also includes live captioning through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Needless to mention, Slack relies on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure.
Apart from Huddles, Slack is offering voice, video, and screen recordings. The simple idea behind this feature is to enable users to record their ideas on their own time and send them to a channel.