Slack repositions itself as a 'virtual HQ' for hybrid workers

Comms platform introduces three new features to bring spontaneous chat and instant video messaging to businesses

Slack's app on a smartphone

Slack has added three new features in an attempt to reposition the platform as a 'virtual headquarters' for companies that adopt hybrid or entirely remote working strategies post-pandemic. 

These arrive in addition to the recently announced feature that enables users to schedule messages, which is very much in keeping with the idea of businesses running and operating across different regions and time zones. 

"The 'new normal' is here to stay - no one wants to give up the flexibility of working from anywhere," said Slack's VP of product, Noah Desai Weiss. "There's a clear need for a virtual headquarters that helps employees embrace a new sense of flexibility, that makes them feel connected to their colleagues despite being physically apart, and that recreates the serendipity and creativity of the office.

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"This is why we are introducing new virtual HQ capabilities like Slack Huddles and native recording of video, voice, and screen-sharing clips in Slack."

Slack Huddles is essentially the company's pitch for those 'water cooler conversations' workers used to enjoy in a physical office. This is a key part of its 'virtual HQ' strategy, re-creating those spontaneous moments of conversation or brainstorming via an 'audio first button in the bottom corner of the Slack sidebar. It's a one-click operation where a 'huddle' can be started in any channel or direct message (including the ones users share with external contacts) where participants can virtually come and go as they please. 

Slack's new collaboration feature 'Slack Huddles'

Another new feature has a very TikTok feel to it, as Slack users will be able to create and share video, screen recordings and audio clips, rather than conduct meetings or write long text into a channel. This was previously touched upon earlier in the year as a sort of 'Stories' type feature that's used on Instagram and now Twitter with 'Fleets'.

Video messages on Slack

The final new product for Slack's 'virtual HQ' overhaul is called 'Slack Atlas', which is a digital directory users can navigate from within their account and connect to colleagues and partners from across their networks.

All of the new features are being rolled out now to paid-tier customers. Slack has yet to confirm whether they will also be rolling out to non-paying customers.

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