secretleaders | Slack: How to Work Remotely and Stay Productive with Cal Henderson

Slack: How to Work Remotely and Stay Productive with Cal Henderson

Today’s guest is someone we’ve had on the show before, in fact, he kicked off season 4 for us. So don’t be confused and think we’ve got our seasons muddled up.

We thought we’d invite Cal Henderson back onto the podcast because his company, Slack, is one of only a few companies that aren’t in a tailspin currently. They’re facing an entirely different dilemma – they’re scrambling to keep up with demand, what with the majority of the world now in self-isolation and having to work from home (WFH).

“One of the challenges of remote work for folks has always been the boundary between being at work and not being at work. And that’s, you know, that’s one thing when it’s individuals, and [another] when it’s an entire company in one go.”

If you’re wanting to hear the story of how Slack started, take a listen here, because we don’t rehash it in this episode.

Instead we talk with Cal about Slack’s sudden increase in user numbers, how they’ve responded to the crisis as a global company (they have employees and offices around the world), as well as what decisions they are making with regards the platform and its new features, as well as offering advice to listeners about productivity and how to work productively, when WFH.

So if you’re taking five minutes out from juggling your kids and your day job, this episode might be the very tonic you need to get you back into the WFH headspace.

“In many ways as a company, we were built for this kind of thing. Like, we didn’t start Slack because we thought there’d be some kind of global pandemic that forced people to work from home.”

We chat about:

  • Slacks features that enable greater productivity
  • Tracking the impact of the virus around the world
  • How Slack enables distributed work
  • Looking after your mental health when isolated
  • The importance of great internal communications when WFH


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The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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