Slack is readying an update for its collaboration platform designed to encourage spontaneous discussions between co-workers.
At its annual conference, Slack Frontiers, the company announced a series of new features coming to Slack Huddles, its impromptu meeting tool.
Previously, Huddles supported audio calling exclusively, but Slack has now introduced the ability to spin up quick video chats too. Other upgrades include multi-person screen-sharing, emojis and reactions, and message threads that pull through to the associated channel after the call has ended.
Slack introduced Huddles back in July last year, in an effort to provide a digital substitute for the “water-cooler chats” that went missing with the transition to remote working at the start of the pandemic. The idea was also to minimize calendar clutter, by replacing formal meetings with quick check-ins.
The decision to limit Slack Huddles to audio only was originally designed to “reduce fatigue associated with always being on camera”, but feedback from customers has led Slack to make an about-turn, bringing video and other rich conferencing features into the fray.
“As companies have navigated this uncharted world of flexible work, Slack has been rethinking what new tools are needed for the digital HQ,” said Noah Desai Weiss, SVP Product at Slack. “The new coworking capabilities in huddles provide teams with deeper ways to collaborate and quickly make decisions without leaving Slack – or adding to our overscheduled calendars.”
According to Slack, the collection of new features introduced to Huddles will give users a wider range of collaboration options, depending on the tenor and purpose of the session.
In particular, the company imagines the additions will be used for the purposes of brainstorming, delivering feedback and resolving small issues, all tasks that are more difficult over text chat, but don’t necessarily warrant a full-scale meeting.
The new Slack Huddles features are still currently under development, but should roll out to all customers in the autumn.