Update on Slack office closures from Slack SVP of People Robby Kwok

By the team at SlackJune 11th, 2020

As the Covid-19 epidemic has rapidly evolved, Slack is evolving along with it. First and foremost, that means prioritizing our employees’ health and well-being, while also providing as much clarity as possible on our plans for the future.

One thing we know: Slack is going to become a much more distributed company. That means most employees will have the option to work remotely on a permanent basis if they choose, and we will begin to increasingly hire employees who are permanently remote.

Additionally, given the complexities of reopening our spaces and desire to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, we’re further extending the timeline for our office reopenings beyond September 1. We don’t yet have a date when offices will reopen for limited use, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation and share updates as we know more.

In the past, the physical office was the default space for work—from grabbing a small room to check in with your manager, to convening a large group to brainstorm on a whiteboard, to catching colleagues in the hall to hear about their weekend plans. While we’re still navigating exactly how and when our offices will reopen, we expect them to look quite different: fewer amenities such as catered lunches and coffee bars, less focus on in-person meetings with colleagues, and more options for focused solo work.

We know that any changes we make to our offices, especially phasing out or significantly curtailing in-office amenities, will impact not only our employees but the network of contractors and vendors whose hard work supported Slack’s food and beverage programs, social gatherings, and more. This is a responsibility we take very seriously, which is why we’re committing to pay all Slack contractors through the end of 2020.

Although there are many things we can’t know about what work will look like in the future, the Slack team is working tirelessly to understand our options, determine what choices we need to make, and understand how best to support our employees and our company over the long term. We are closely monitoring the situation globally and will provide further updates as new information is available.

In addition to focusing on the health and well-being of our employees, we are also continuing to execute against our pre-established business continuity and pandemic plans. While no systems can perfectly anticipate every contingency, we are confident in our product’s technical architecture and its ability to handle the increased volume and load for all of our customers and employees. For information about Slack’s business continuity plans, see this blog post.

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