Slack Reinforces Its Focus on Productivity with the Announcement of Slack Canvas

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

• Slack Canvas fulfills the truest potential of hybrid work tools – increasing productivity.

• Productivity has been a focal point at Slack, and that places it in an enviable position.

Slack has announced Slack Canvas, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. Slack Canvas supplements channels, which are the centerpiece of the Slack platform. Slack defines channels as repositories that centralize people, information, and tools, thus facilitating collaboration. Any channel can have a dedicated, customizable canvas associated with it. Canvases provide a permanent place to organize and store resources that can be shared with and updated by a team.

Canvases fulfill the truest potential of hybrid work tools – increasing productivity – by establishing a single, permanent, locatable source for curating, sharing, and updating essential materials and information. In addition to facilitating a confluence of people and resources, hybrid work tools also raise productivity by virtue of being digital. Because digital tools exist in the virtual realm, they hold advantages over their physical counterparts. They allow tasks to be completed more efficiently and enable tasks that are not possible with physical tools (such as workers in different locations interacting with a whiteboard).

So, what is productivity? At a fundamental level, productivity can be defined as achieving a given level of output with fewer resources or achieving a greater level of output with the same or fewer resources.

Productivity has been a focal point at Slack, and that places it in an enviable position. Productivity has universal appeal; every business places a premium on productivity regardless of industry, target markets, geographic location, or any other distinction. A focus on productivity also provides Slack a competitive advantage. A sizable segment of competitors has been preoccupied with leveraging hybrid work tools to level the playing field between in-office and remote workers and thus create a feeling of inclusiveness.

What these competitors fail or refuse to recognize is pursuing equilibrium between in-person and remote workers is a pipe dream. Nothing can ever replicate the dynamics inherent with collaboration that take place among individuals occupying the same physical space. Plus, when weighing the merits of inclusiveness versus productivity, productivity will win every time.

Striving for productivity is commendable and highly advisable. However, there are pitfalls. A point of diminishing returns can easily be reached. Associating an abundance of people, files, systems, etc. with a single repository can lead to confusion and disorder, and thus send productivity plummeting. What is required is the discipline to manage these productivity spaces proactively, to be discriminating in determining what materials are placed in them to begin with and to actively remove material as it becomes dated or irrelevant. An intuitive user interface is essential as well.

While competitors do pay attention to productivity, Slack shines a much hotter spotlight on it. The intensity of focus on productivity inherent at Slack combined with the resources at its disposal through owner Salesforce bode well for the company.

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