Slack vs Email

When you are building a new business, one of the most important things to consider is how your team is going to communicate. There has been a major ongoing trend among today’s modern businesses; people nowadays seem to favor a messaging platform like Slack over email. Should you just use Slack as well, instead of email? Well, the answer does depend on many factors. In general, using both is better. In the article below, we will discuss the comparisons between Slack vs email to help you determine how you are going to build your communication platform.

The Problems With Email
Long before messaging platforms like Slack vs email become popular, most people use email to communicate (see our previous post about Asana vs Slack here!). Email is indeed a great tool for connecting with other people outside your team. Why? Well, because everybody uses email. Regardless of the email service that they use, they can always receive and read your messages.

However, email is not as great for internal communications in your company or team. First of all, if you use only email for internal communications every day, your email inbox can easily get overwhelmed. According to several surveys, an average working person is estimated to send and receive more than 100 emails daily. Furthermore, it is also estimated that an average email inbox has at least 8,000 emails. The numbers may substantially increase if you also use email as a primary method of communication with your friends and relatives.

It is very easy to lose important messages in an overflowing email inbox. With such numbers of emails that you need to handle constantly, there is a big risk of losing important messages and failing to reply in time.

The second problem with email is that it is difficult to categorize messages and conversations. Well, some email services do allow you to label messages. This is a very helpful feature to separate internal messages from external messages, as well as business emails and personal emails. However, you will still see them all in the inbox screen, unless you filter the selections.

Why Email Is Still Needed
That said, email is not something that you can just ditch away. You still need email due to various reasons. First of all, you still need email for external communications. In addition, you may also need email for formal internal communications. For example, when you want to send a formal letter to a team member, it is possible to use Slack; but using email feels more professional and appropriate.

The second reason why email is still needed is because you can’t just type super-long messages and send them to your colleague via Slack. When you are trying to explain something at a length, email is more appropriate. Nobody likes to scroll through a lengthy message on Slack.

Third, email is ultimately better when you want to maintain privacy. This may depend on the email service that you use. If you are using an email service that is hosted by your company, there is a possibility that your company can read those messages. However, using a trusted third-party email service may offer better privacy. On the other hand, a messaging platform like Slack is indeed very practical, but the administrators probably have access to whatever you send through the platform.

What Is Slack?
Slack is a cloud-based messaging platform with lots of functionality. Messaging and communication are at its core, but you can add a greatly customized productivity layer on top of it by adding the relevant apps and integrations. One fun fact: “Slack” actually stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”.

Basically, Slack comes with a large chat screen in the middle. You can read messages and add replies on the chat screen. On the left navigation bar, there is a list of channels. You can create channels for specific topics or projects, and you can also create private channels that are restricted to certain members. There is also a list of contacts on the left navigation bar; you can send direct messages to individuals.

The Slack service is accessible through a web browser. Simply open the official website. However, you can also install the client apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms. Mobile apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Apple Watch devices.

And for the pricing, Slack is available in three tiers. The free tier already gives you a fully functional workspace that can archive up to 10k messages and allows up to 10 apps/integrations. It also allows one-to-one video calls. The Standard tier costs $6.67 per user per month, and removes the limits on the searchable chats and apps/integrations. In addition, the Standard tier also adds group calls with screen sharing, shared channels, and guest accounts. Finally, the Plus tier costs $12.27 per user per month to provide advanced security features and 99.99% guaranteed uptime.

The Benefits Of Slack
The first and foremost benefit of Slack vs email is that it allows rapid real-time communications. Email may be pretty fast, but not real-time. Slack is a real-time chatting platform where multiple people can elaborate together and give frequent updates. It is useful when you have quick questions that need quick answers,

Furthermore, the real-time nature of Slack encourages brainstorming. The chat room is a perfect environment where for people to spitball ideas. People can participate in the discussion immediately. You can also upload files and attachments easily, just drag and drop. Imagine doing it all through email – it will be very inefficient and annoying.

Slack makes it possible for you to organize your conversations. Instead of letting your work messages scattered all over your email account, Slack can help you classify your conversations through the channels. And you can scroll through a whole conversation easily on the chat screen.

Finally, the benefit of Slack vs email is the numerous third-party integrations. You can create a powerful productivity layer that is tailored specifically for your team’s needs. For example, you can add the integrations to Teamwork Projects, Trello, GitHub, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Mail Chimp, and Skype. Need automation? IFTTT and Zapier integrations are available.

The Limitations of Slack
Slack is indeed a great addition to your business, but it also has some limitations. First, Slack does not have any built-in task management tool. So, if you need some task management tools that will allow you to assign tasks to specific team members along with the priorities and due dates, you need another solution. That’s why Slack has integrations. There are integrations to task management apps such as Teamwork Projects and Trello. The combination will be very powerful.

Secondly, for some people Slack may feel a little too connected for some people. At the time when you need to remain focus and undisturbed, Slack may make it hard to disconnect from your team. You may find yourself chatting too much about the projects instead of getting the projects done. Slack may also create a lot of notifications; fortunately, Slack does have some notification controls which you can configure.

- Real-time conversations- Not real-time
- Great for quick messages and brainstorming- More appropriate for formal messages and lengthy explanation
- Classify conversations on channels- Difficult to classify and organize messages
- Has a lot of integrations- More limited possible integrations

In general, using both Slack and email is recommended. Slack is very, very useful for minimizing the number of emails that you need to handle, and it also offers other great benefits, including the organization of conversations and customizable integrations. However, you still need emails for formal messages and long explanation.

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