We want to share with you a tool that we think is great and that we use every day. Being a company of both software developers and experts in building information modeling (BIM), we often have a unique perspective on tools that can cross over between industries. One of these examples is Slack.
Remember when we first starting using email? It was so revolutionary and it held so much promise. No more cluttering our desks, tabletops, and jobsites with an endless onslaught of dead trees. The number of faxes and memos started to go down. It was a beautiful time. And then email got out of control. We started getting notifications and spam. Every person on the jobsite had a tendency to send long, complicated emails. Our email inboxes became just as cluttered as our desks used to be.
Slack allows you to neatly organize your correspondence into discrete categories. Need a file from your boss? Message him directly. Need an update from your team? Communicate with all of them instantly on your "Team" channel. Don't want to talk to Joe about Cam's turnover? Send Joe a private message and say you'll talk fantasy strategy after the client meeting.
Slack, and other collaboration applications, offer businesses a way to streamline inter-office communications. Like email, files can be uploaded and instantly shared with either a group or an individual. Unlike email, however, Slack can be configured into multiple public and private channels, all visible to each user from one handy screen. Its speed mimics instant messaging, but with the aforementioned advantage of having multiple streams stored in one place. Additionally, while a ping from a coworker may seem like just another distraction in an endless stream of disruptions, the pop-up preview allows the user to quickly glance at the message and immediately determine whether it needs to be addressed now or at a later time.
Now that's more like it. No clutter here! (Source: CNN Money)
Many productivity experts recommend sorting emails into specific, manageable files. This method is a great help in keeping inboxes at (or at least close to) zero, while storing important information in an easily searchable format. With Slack, the sorting is done for you. Information is automatically stored within each thread and can be searched as easily as in any inbox. This system greatly reduces the amount of email exchanged between team members, and by extension, reduces the overwhelming amount of email received on a daily basis.
We still get physical mail. We still get faxes. And we still get email, often in quantities that are still too high. But for inter-team communication, we love using Slack. It cuts down on email from within the team, puts it into specific channels, and allows us to respond in a more timely manner. After all, any company with the motto "Be less busy" has our vote.
Make sure to check out the work we’re doing in computational BIM and the automation of MEP modeling. BuildingSP is at the forefront of the application of generative design to AEC, and we look forward to better tools changing how we specify BIM on projects. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.