Working from home can be difficult, but online platforms like Slack are offering creative solutions to keep workers connected.

Work in the time of COVID-19 can be challenging, but there are solutions on the horizon. Communication platforms like Slack have surged in user activity. Slack CFO and Wharton alumnus Allen Shim spoke with Wharton Business Daily host Dan Loney on how the platform has evolved to meet new needs.

Interview Highlights

1. Be understanding of your employees.

“There’s a whole human element to this. We’ve got to talk about, as a company, giving people the flexibility and the space to manage not just work, but their lives. Now all of a sudden, your home is your school and your daycare center. That’s something that has never been done before.”

2. Many business roadblocks are universal, but solutions are too.

“We want to make sure that we are investing to go after customers around the world of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re an SMB (a small and/or medium-sized business) or an enterprise, these needs are really universally applicable. I mentioned higher education as well. We are seeing these demands coming from all parts of the market that were more reticent to look at solutions until they really were forced into thinking about how ready they were for a situation like this.”

3. Share your insights with your customers.

“We’ve added resources on our website for remote work. We’ve got one-on-one consultations to help people use Slack. We’ve got resources for people working on COVID, we’re coordinating research teams through an initiative called We’re making Slack free for nonprofits. We’re telling the stories of successes of companies who are navigating remote work or actually started out as remote-only companies, whether GitLab or WordPress and how they’re keeping their team connected and getting work done. It is really important to share those insights and that knowledge with the customers who are looking for it.”

4. How you communicate is just as important as what you say. 

“We’re trying to take in all the data and make sure that we’re not just making fast decisions, but that we’re making good decisions. But maybe more important than the decisions themselves is how we communicate them. So we’re spending a lot of energy making sure that folks have sufficient notice, priority, and rationale for why decisions are being made, and that’s really helped the company rally in this time and stay very productive in obviously some very challenging circumstances.”

5. Remote work will stick around even after the pandemic.

“This is going to change the way that (CFOs) are going to organize their businesses going forward. Remote work is not just going to be this novelty, but it will be some part of the requirement going forward for a number of reasons. Investments in technology and investments in platforms like ours are going to be increasingly important because how you respond is really the name of the game here.”

“The idea of navigating the company on email in particular — it’s clearly very limited. Slack is a unique position to support those people who are looking for solutions to navigate this, not just through this crisis.”

— Angela Lin

Posted: April 16, 2020

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