Productivity Tools

Slack vs Email: Can Slack Replace Email?

typing on a computer with chat boxes coming up

Slack has boldly stated they can replace your email. But can Slack replace email? Is Slack better than email? Email culture is often deeply ingrained in organizations and is lauded as the prime way of communication. While Slack can certainly improve communication and productivity, it likely won’t replace your email anytime soon. We’ve already discussed why you should use Slack – and we’re a big fan of its Droplr integration – but here’s why Slack probably isn’t going to replace your email anytime soon.

Slack vs Email

Let’s compare Slack vs Email to determine when you should use Slack or email.

slack vs email

B2B/B2C Communication 

While Slack may help communication in the office, a lot of communication occurs between an organization and its clients. You can add outside users as a Slack connection, but during the sales process especially, businesses usually rely on email. Alternatively, it is becoming more common for a user to be a part of multiple organizations’ Slacks which could potentially result in confusion. 

Productivity & Collaboration

Slack can be an incredibly useful tool for increasing team communication and productivity, but some users report that its many channels and threads of communication can become overwhelming and distracting. This is especially true if they are in several conversations, particularly when users are holding personal conversations as well as work-related discussion. They prefer to keep more important tasks in email. 

Additionally, when multiple teams are involved in project communication via Slack can become disconnected, given the option to have multiple channels and threads within those channels. This can be particularly cumbersome if some of those teams are remote or in other offices. Tasks get lost and important parts of conversation could be missed by users who aren’t immediately available. Keeping project communication such as material reviews and directions in email helps keep teams on track. 

woman rubbing her temples while on a laptop

It’s One More Thing 

Many organizations run into the issue of having too many outlets of communication – email, Slack, perhaps a Skype or project management system, and even text and phone calls. They find themselves with an influx of information. The constant messages and notifications can result in information overload and perhaps even burnout. As an added obstacle, if projects are being discussed in multiple places, team members may inadvertently be left out of important conversations or not see tasks assigned to them. 

Email vs Slack: Pros & Cons

To summarize, let’s briefly consider the pros and cons of slack vs email.

slack logo

Changing to Slack: Pros

  • Large conversations: Conversations with multiple users are easy to organize thanks to separate channels and threads.
  • Integrations: Hundreds of integrations with other apps make it easy to center all of your work on the Slack app.
  • Voice and video chat: You can use voice and video as well to communicate with co-workers, thus increasing the number and variety of ways to communicate.

Changing to Slack: Cons

  • Too busy: As noted above, Slack’s many channels, threads, and integrations can be confusing and distracting. This makes it easy to lose track of important conversations and files.
  • Too fast: Conversations can become off-track as people send many messages at once, further burying important messages and attachments.
  • Limited outside interactions: Slack is mostly for communication between co-workers and not for contacting customers, clients, or other businesses.

Will Slack replace email? 

email logo

In a word, not likely. While Slack can be extremely useful in organizations, it can also cause bottlenecks, distract staff, and lead to miscommunication. Email is a pillar of nearly every organization as it allows for more direct conversations and easy communication with clients, customers, and collaborators. Even as Slack becomes more and more integrated with email clients, it won’t replace email as a primary form of communication within businesses. Ultimately, when comparing slack vs email, it becomes clear that both inhabit their own unique place in the business world; neither are easily replaceable, so you will have to figure out for yourself when to use Slack vs email.

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