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Discussion on: [Ask Dev] Is Slack disruptive at work?

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Adam Markon

Starting with more of an abstract comment, but I find the mantra of "developers require focused work more than other professions" to be incredibly unproductive and disrespectful to colleagues in other disciplines. To argue that development is the only profession that requires deep, focused work implies something incredibly negative about other professions. It doesn't matter whether your career is writing code, writing blog posts, completing financial audits, or any other number of things. If your profession requires mental effort then it requires deep focus and, in your eyes, asynchronous communication.

Having said that, I'd argue that - despite its default notification settings, which are designed to get the maximum engagement out of users, thanks to Slack's origins as a VC-backed company that needed to show growth - Slack is an asynchronous communication tool. You can entirely mute channels, DMs, or the whole darn app. You can actively prevent coworkers from interrupting your thought process. If you want you can disable @here and @channel notifications, disable push notifications on your device, as well as leave Do Not Disturb on 24 hours a day, and you'll be able to functionally use Slack the way you'd use email. In fact, it's how most people in my office have their accounts set up. In my mind, Slack is great in that it allows you to choose your level of engagement, and if you'd like that level to be "none" then that's your prerogative.

Searchability is a fair argument, though I personally feel that "starring" and "pinning" messages, combined with the new search interface rolled out earlier this year, I no longer struggle to find messages like I used to. Slack search used to be problematic, but I haven't felt that pain in a while.