This new Slack feature may have just killed email (and your sanity)

Slack was already killing your work-life balance by being an instrument to constant communication with your coworkers and boss every single minute of the day. But wait, now it gets worse.

This week Slack released a feature  that lets anyone on the platform DM eachother. Paid Slack users will now be able to access Slack Connect DMs for all teams and all free users eventually. In addition to a myriad of issues for sanity, could this mean the end of email?

Slack to the rescue?

It goes without saying that Slack has been a company-saver during the pandemic. When offices shifted to remotely back in March 2020, the work-communication platform kept employees connected when many thought that there would be dire consequences due to no in-person collaboration or interaction.

For those unaware of what Slack is, put it like this: In offices that use it, the product takes on life as a verb. You can instant message any employee within a company. There’s options to hold video conferences, while different groups can help spread company-wide messages in a tidy thread that everyone can see. You can even add fun widgets to keep things light.

So, Slack keeps you connected; sometimes, that’s good and then there’s being too connected. Like any other software that can be used on smartphones, Slack is essentially work in your pocket. It’s email on steroids (and really easy to use). In a period where workers are experiencing heightened levels of burnout due to remote working, the work-life balance is arguably sacrificed due to platforms like Slack.

In an effort to bring the workplace even closer together, Slack announced last year that it would unveil a new feature that would allow any user — or any company — that uses Slack to direct message each other across the platform in what sure sounds a lot like email. The company calls it “Slack Connect” which the company said is “designed to replace email outside your company.”

“This represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses have traditionally communicated,” the company wrote in a blog post. “While legacy solutions might offer guest or specific channel access, it’s limited to connecting individuals, rather than organizations in a centralized place. With Slack Connect, up to 20 organizations can securely work together in the same space, where each side can maintain control over their organization’s data.”

According to the company, Slack Connect can be a lifeline for collaboration with other offices, such as sales opportunities or reviewing proposals that need real-time communication, which isn’t possible with email. For those functions, it makes sense — but there’s a little problem.

People on Twitter were quick to point out how the tool could open a new pathway to targeted harassment — which the company was quick to fix. The company’s VP of communications and policy told The Verge that Slack is taking “immediate steps” to prevent any kind of abusive or harassing messages sent through Slack Connect DMs.

“Slack Connect’s security features and robust administrative controls are a core part of its value both for individual users and their organizations. We made a mistake in this initial roll-out that is inconsistent with our goals for the product and the typical experience of Slack Connect usage. As always, we are grateful to everyone who spoke up, and we are committed to fixing this issue,” Jonathan Prince told the outlet.

Is the workplace ready for something like that? Is email a dying thing? Let us know in the comments.