Team apps like Slack and Facebook Workplace are designed to make it easy for employees to communicate with each other. The goal behind this is to increase efficiency at work. But does it really work – and: what is important for successful communication?

Slack and Facebook Workplace are just tools that are available to us. How we use them efficiently ourselves is what matters.

Basically, of course, the ability to exchange ideas with colleagues via chat is worth its weight in gold. Otherwise, it would either be very difficult or not work at all for several employees at different locations to work together.

After all, communication is also the be-all and end-all in professional life. If we can’t communicate with each other, even the best ideas, concepts and employees won’t help us.

Team apps connect us with each other – all over the world

At BASIC thinking, we’ve been using Slack for years. Since we’re all based in different places – in Germany and in the US – and work from home offices, we rely on a fast communication platform.

Of course, we could all also talk to each other on the phone. But you probably also know how stressful synchronous communication can be during work. One call can take you right out of your concentrated state and ruin all workflow.

That’s why we rely on asynchronous communication via Slack in many cases. Of course, sometimes the instant messenger triggers us to respond immediately as well. The point is that we don’t usually expect it from our colleagues, so there’s no pressure. Of course, there are exceptions to this.

Efficiency in a small team

We also enjoy the advantage of working in a small team. That means we don’t have five meetings a day with 15 different colleagues with whom we need to be in constant communication.

For large groups, team apps can become a disadvantage if they don’t create clear rules and structures for communication. After all, if messages are constantly rolling in, it creates stress. And we want to avoid that as much as possible.

The decisive factor for efficiency and productivity is therefore how large the team is with which you communicate via Slack or Facebook Workplace. The smaller your team, the easier it is to communicate in team apps.

Don’t get distracted by team apps

But that’s not all you should be sure to look out for. In fact, a study in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research back in 2018 showed that your cognitive abilities reduce when there’s only a smartphone next to you.

So the mere presence of your device can rob you of your best possible work experience. Now imagine how you might feel when a text message comes in on your smartphone or computer every few minutes.

In both cases, our curiosity is piqued. When the smartphone is with us, we tend to quickly check social networks – just to see what’s happened in the past ten minutes.

Team apps have a similar effect. Of course, we want to know right away what our colleagues have written or specifically want from us. But this only takes us out of the workflow.

So it’s a matter of being disciplined and figuring out how you personally can best deal with Slack and Co.