You hear a laugh from across the office and wonder if someone shared a joke, until you realize that a new meme was sent in your company’s team channel. Originally meant to enhance productivity, chat tools for businesses have opened the door for gifs, memes, and other non-work related topics to infringe on your work velocity. Specifically, Slack is an instant messaging tool that allows you to have a variety of conversations in channels divvied up by team, client, project, or any category deemed necessary by your organization.

A study by ReportLinker finds that instant messaging is most popular in the tech industry, where 71% of employees rely on these applications. Slack reports that their tool currently has over 10 million users.

Of course, if not Slack, there’s always Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, or SMS that have taken over the workplace. With so many communication platforms available to distract you between the hours of 9am-5pm, it’s nearly impossible that all communication is work related.  

Is your company (slack)ing off? This may be indicative of how your productivity levels are getting killed. Unsurprisingly, the secret of your office productivity does not lie within an instant messaging app.

Getting Interrupted

The biggest thing that can tank workflow and productivity levels are constant interruptions. Getting into a concentrated ‘flow’ state can be difficult for most people and hearing a ping for a notification doesn’t help. Any alert notification such as a message or comment releases dopamine in your brain which makes it addictive to click and enter the conversation immediately.

According to this same report by ReportLinker, one in four respondents feel the pressure to answer to any IMs right away, even when they’re in the middle of something.

Whether the conversation is about the newest software update or the big sports game coming up, it’s challenging to get back into a productive state of mind. This is why it’s important to know when it’s time to silence push notifications and get yourself back on track. Remember, you can always join the conversation later!

Getting Overloaded

Slack may reduce the time you spend on your email, but increases the amount of notifications you receive all together. Let’s face it, no one likes hundreds of unread messages in their inbox.

According to calculations from Wonder, people that use smartphones receive an average of 45.9 push notifications per day.

Now, with a multitude of channels on Slack, you have to pay attention to constant notifications from a variety of chats. The chat rooms might even consist of the same people conversing over miscellaneous subjects from channel to channel. Talk about sensory overload!

Gaining a Social Bond

These off-topic threads may not contribute to your individual workflow, but they are enhancing the relationships between workers that may have otherwise been disconnected. Would you have known that the woman sitting across from you also loves the show The Office? Probably not. Is that relevant to your work at hand? Definitely not, but these interactions could facilitate collaborations and offer more social support at work. Team building exercises have never been easier!

With more communication channels seeping into every aspect of our lives, there’s only so much you can do to mitigate the never ending distractions. As long as individuals at your company have the will power to silence their notifications when it comes time to crack down and get the job done, you know you have the right workers.