As Slack has become one of the most popular workplace tools, there's a pretty good chance you're using it at your job. There's also a good chance that you or someone you work with has developed a few bad Slack habits that not only frustrate your team but also reduce productivity. 

I use Slack every day, and while I agree it has some benefits--especially for remote workers--it can get frustrating when your team doesn't have a common set of Slack guidelines or etiquette. With that in mind, here are seven things you should stop doing on Slack right now, and what you should do instead.

1. @Channel

There are times when it's entirely appropriate to send a message and notify an entire channel. Those times are rare, however, and usually, it's better to just post your message or tag the appropriate people. The same goes for @here. Unless you have an urgent message that absolutely requires the attention of everyone in a channel, use these tags sparingly. 

2. Sending multiple messages in a row 

You've seen it before. In fact, you've probably done it. You send a series of messages in a row, instead of thoughtfully composing a message within one post. It might not seem like a big deal, except Slack is hard enough to search and keep things organized. Help your team out by consolidating those messages into one post. Especially if it's a DM. No one wants that many notifications in a row. Plus, what if I want to reply in a thread? Which message should I respond to?

3. Replying in-channel instead of in a thread

Speaking of those threads, use them. Don't just drop your reply into the channel, but take the half-second required to click that little "start a thread" icon, and start a thread. Slack is already mostly a constant stream of noise, so the least any of us can do is try and keep things organized. Be kind to your team members and use threads.

4. Posting the same message in multiple channels

If your company uses a lot of channels for different teams, it might seem like it makes sense to post important messages in multiple places. The problem, however, is that not only does that mean some people will have to filter through more noise, but it also means you end up with conversations about those important issues in different places.

Instead, take advantage of the fact that Slack allows you to copy a link to a post, and just share that in the other channel. That way team members who want to engage in the conversation can simply click through to the original message. It's also a good reason to have a central "Announcements" channel for your entire organization, so you have a natural place to post important information.

5. Using Group DMs

Sending a direct message to a small group of people seems like a great idea. You can loop only the people who need to know into a conversation, especially if it's sensitive. There are a few problems though, like the fact that you can only have so many active DMs, which means that eventually, that important conversation won't appear in the navigation. Ever try to search for a group DM later? If you don't remember exactly who was in it, forget about it. 

Also, you can't add someone to a group DM after the fact, meaning that it's hard to bring someone else into a conversation when you realize you need more input. Instead, it's often a better idea to create a private channel with a small group for those conversations. 

6. Making every conversation public

One of the principles that proponents of Slack often advocate is to have every conversation in public channels for the sake of transparency and collaboration. Some conversations, however, shouldn't be public. Some are personal in nature and should either be handled in DMs, or even better, in person. Other conversations may not be sensitive, but are irrelevant to anyone not directly involved, and as such just create more noise. 

7. Not acknowledging messages

It's totally reasonable to want a little peace and quiet from the constant stream of Slack notifications. However, if someone sends you a message, especially a DM, it's just good etiquette to at least drop a little acknowledgment. Even if you can't respond, or handle whatever the request is, a simple check-mark emoji goes a long way. 

Published on: Feb 3, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.