Hackers Digest #32: Is Slack Holding You Back?

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Slack

 

Welcome to this week’s version of the Hackers Digest, a feature that shines a light on some of the more interesting ideas about productivity that were published over the past several days. We explore every nook and cranny of the Internet to find the six best hacks and productivity stories of the week so you don’t have to.

Here’s what’s on tap this week:

1. How to motivate your startup team.

The world of startups is exciting. But ask anyone who’s ever worked for one and they’ll tell you the same thing: With so many responsibilities needing to be tackled, it can be downright impossible for founders to keep everyone motivated and on the same page. Some folks might think that it’s incredibly easy to motivate employees—just give them more money. But in reality, it’s not that simple. If you want your employees to stick around, you have to do more than just throw cash at them. Instead, you should create an environment where expectations are clearly defined. You should also make career development and on-the-job learning top priorities at your organization. Your employees are busting their tails for you every week, so be sure to recognize their hard work. Those tips and more are over at ITProPortal.  

2. Can Facebook’s Jarvis make you more productive?

It appears as though we’ve finally arrived in the future. After announcing its plans to integrate automatic chatbots into Messenger at its F8 conference, Facebook has finally released Jarvis to the masses. It goes without saying that the artificially intelligent chat bot will undoubtedly get even more powerful in the coming months and years. But is Jarvis actually helpful right now? One reporter wanted to find out the answer to that question, so she gave Jarvis a whirl. Her findings? Even though it’s a rudimentary bot at this point, Jarvis is already helpful for simple reminders. For example, if you want to call your mother at 4:30 p.m., you can ask Jarvis to remind you, and the chat bot will. But if you’re looking for a new best friend, you might want to look elsewhere. In its current iteration, Jarvis isn’t really all that chatty just yet, according to the reporter. Despite that, there’s a good chance Jarvis can boost your productivity. Never remind yourself about anything ever again. Read about her experience over at The American Genius. 

3. Slack might actually be stifling your productivity.

If you’ve read any story at all about the collaboration space over the last few years, you’ve almost certainly stumbled across Slack, the brainchild of Stewart Butterfield. Now valued at nearly $4 billion, Slack promises to make work easier by getting rid of email. While the tool continues to increase in popularity, some users are beginning to wonder if the app is actually doing more harm than good. Instead of receiving a majority of communications via email, those who use Slack receive a steady stream of communications from their coworkers throughout the entire day. Yes, folks might not have to spend hours and hours in their inboxes anymore. But if they’re spending hours and hours inside of their Slack app, is the platform really making much of a difference with respect to productivity? For more, head to Tech.Co.

4. Why executives and business leaders are paying for their employees’ yoga lessons.

On June 21, the world (or at least some people in it) celebrated International Yoga Day. Odds are you’ve heard about the link between exercise and productivity. But as you also probably know, not everyone in the world likes going for long runs or playing squash. It appears as though companies are becoming increasingly aware of this fact too, because according to a recent survey, 53% of organizations are investing in yoga lessons for their employees. Yoga—which can practically be done anywhere, and cheaply—can help treat anxiety, stress and depression. It can also help lower high blood pressure. Altogether, this results in a measurable uptick in productivity. The story is over at Business Standard.

5. Stop managing your body and start managing your mind.

Years ago, managers and company owners believed that in order to be as productive as possible, workers’ bodies had to be managed masterfully. Back then, a majority of workers toiled away in the fields or in factories. Logic follows that these folks would have to be well-rested, or at least near it, in order to crank out 8, 10 or 12-hour shifts every day of the week. Of course, work has changed drastically over the last century. But still, some managers are treating their employees the same way their century-old counterparts treated theirs. Instead of managing the body, however, today’s bosses would be wise to manage minds. Today’s knowledge workers simply can’t be managed the same way as someone who works on an assembly line can be. How exactly do you go about managing the mind? For starters, you may want to encourage your employees to tackle their work in blocks of 40 to 50 minutes followed by 15-minute breaks. You’ll also want to make sure those breaks are unstructured. To learn more about how you can better manage your mind—or your employees’ minds—head over to Fast Company.

6. Eight digital tools that can make you more productive.

Ah yes, what would productivity lists be if they didn’t contain recommendations for apps and other tools you can use to increase your work output? This time, the list comes from the Harvard Business Review. Some of the usual tools, like Evernote and Twitter, are recommended in this piece—but for reasons you might not be thinking of. Beyond that, there are a number of tools you may have never heard of, like Skitch, which makes it easy to save, share and modify images; Feedly, a tool that can seriously declutter your inbox; and Doodle, a tool that makes scheduling a meeting with multiple people incredibly easy. To read about these tools and more, head over to the Harvard Business Review.

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