- Slack introduced several new features to give users an alternative to the virtual meeting.
- The goal is to make Slack the “virtual HQ” for a company as many firms stay remote-first.
- Fresh audio and video tools to allow workers to communicate asynchronously.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
is launching a bunch of new tools to give workers an alternative to the virtual video meeting.
The workplace chat company announced several new audio and video features on Wednesday to help users get work done without being in the same place or communicating in real-time.
The tools are a result of Slack’s user research during the pandemic which found that remote work meant people were staying online longer and working more hours — and often feeling burned out as a result.
As more companies choose not to send workers back to the office full-time post-pandemic, Slack’s goal is to help customers adapt to a digital-first way of working and become their “virtual HQ,” said VP of product Noah Weiss.
“We’re at the beginning of what, I think, is going to be this decade-plus shift where every Fortune 1000 company’s C-suite is thinking, ‘We used to put all this time, money and attention into our physical infrastructure because people came to the office five days a week, nine to five, and now we’ve got to shift a big portion of that into our digital environment for people to collaborate because that’s where our teams are going to be,'” he said.
Slack’s new features include a new audio tool called Slack Huddle that’s meant to recreate the spontaneous, informal discussions that happen in a physical office and can help build bonds between coworkers. For example, someone can start a huddle in a channel or a direct message and people can drop in if they want, similar to way coworkers might gather in an office kitchen or pass by someone’s desk.
There’s also a new feature to record and upload short video or audio clips with screen sharing to a channel, which can offer an alternative to things like all-hands meetings.
Ultimately, these tools are all meant to build a digital-first alternative to meetings, Weiss said.
“We’re trying to reinvent what the alternative world looks like, where you don’t need a meeting as the tool to answer every team collaboration challenge,” he said.
These new products will work with Slack Connect, the company’s tool to chat with people outside of your own company. Slack has also integrated workplace directory tool Rimeto, which it acquired last year. Rebranded as Slack Atlas, the tool builds a directory and org chart into the typical Slack interface.
Slack’s focus on rethinking communication is going to be key to competitiveness in the market, especially as Microsoft puts more emphasis on its own chat app Teams as the central hub to access its entire ecosystem, including now being bundled into the Windows operating system.
Part of the reason Salesforce plans to acquire Slack for $27.7 billion is because Salesforce sees it becoming the user interface for all of its cloud tools. That’s especially useful when its also the place where people communicate to get work done. The deal is set to close in the next few months.
“People already think of it as the place you start in your work day,” he said. “It’s the single pane of glass that you interact with all your tools and all of the people at your company.”
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