“We only allow work-related Slack channels.” 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

How would you feel if you joined a new company and discovered that the use of Slack was limited to work-related conversation?

When I joined SparkPost in August, it was quickly apparent that wouldn’t be the case. I was immediately welcomed to the team and directed to the channels for #pet-lovers, #bakers, #foodies, and #gardeners.

It was clear that SparkPost builds its remote-first culture using Slack, and it truly creates camaraderie around shared hobbies and interests – and I was here for it.

Even though I was working hundreds of miles away from most of my coworkers, I was able to quickly connect with plenty of folks I had more in common with than just being a fellow colleague.

However, I did hear from a past colleague recently who joined a new company only to discover that Slack was very, well, quiet there.

She was wondering if that should be a red flag, and I had to admit that for me it would be.

As a remote-first company, Slack has become the primary way SparkPost employees communicate. That extends to the types of conversations you might typically save for the breakroom or that random hallway chat. I would guess it’s likely the same way for most remote organizations.

In fact, back in 2019 Slack reported that more than 10 million people used the platform daily. It’s easy to imagine that with so many companies going remote during the pandemic that the number is now much higher.

Here at SparkPost, we have many channels dedicated to everything you’d expect, like customer support and team collaboration, along with more unexpected topics like gardening, TV, and raising kids. 

Upon looking into the analytics on the internal Slack usage, it’s clear that those “fun” channels are appreciated as part of SparkPost’s company culture. 

The top three channels when ranked by the number of messages sent are:

  • #randomactsofkarma – A channel dedicated to giving “karma points” to coworkers when they go above and beyond
  • #askusanything – A channel for posing questions to the Executive Management Team at SparkPost
  • #sparkpostlife – A channel where folks often post what’s going on in their lives, from vacation pictures to team meet-ups

SparkPost started using Slack for internal messaging in 2016, and in that time we’ve sent more than 13 million messages as an organization! 

With so much messaging going on, we wanted to see what team members consider their favorite Slack channels for conversation. Here’s a look at some of the responses we received.

#triviajunkies

Why we like it: “I like the mix of trivia and puzzles and the friendly competition with others.”
– Kris Kelley, Engineer

#lilsparkies

Why we like it: “I was pregnant in 2020 and gave birth in 2021. This channel was an exciting place to connect and share with other parents who were on the pregnancy journey. It’s also become a fun place to post baby milestones.” – Kara Welch, Customer Success Manager

#interestingdata

Why we like it: “We are data geeks at heart! So learning only 20% of people wash their hands after using the restroom… Gross!” –Ryan Barr, Business Operations (SFDC)

#dailytopic

Why we like it: “It allows me to connect on a personal level with colleagues on different teams that I would ordinarily never interact with!” –Sasha Malcolmson, Technical Support Analyst

#sp-wildlife
Why we like it: “I have a love for wildlife photography and capture a lot in my own back yard, but it is really quite interesting to see what others see in their own ‘backyards.’” –Tom Mairs, Director of Solutions Engineering

While it can often also be a red flag when businesses refer to colleagues as a “family,” like it or not, we are often connected with our coworkers for most of the day, most days of the week. I probably appreciate it more than some as an extrovert, but spending that time talking about nothing but work sounds like torture to me.

I don’t think I’m alone, either. 

When my colleague Sasha Malcolmson shared her favorite Slack channel with me, she was quick to add, “We’re a group of real humans working together for a common goal. I’m really pleased and also proud that my company is encouraging these types of Slack channels.”

If you’re looking to join a company with a friendly, remote-first culture, SparkPost is hiring! Please check out our current openings and apply if you see something that would be a great fit for you.  

   

~Elsbeth Russell

SparkPost Community Manager