We often talk about the pandemic as the catalyst for new ways of working, but the truth is how, where and when we work has been changing for some time. In fact, before the pandemic, around 24% of workers globally were already working remotely. In 2023, that number hovers around 64%.
As we gear up for the future of work, says Chrystiadi Harris, Tokopedia’s Head of Engineering, leaders must focus on creating workplaces that are productive and efficient, but also fun.
That’s just the approach that Indonesian companies Tokopedia and Julo are taking as they prepare for the next iteration of work. And, they explain, Slack holds the key to ensuring a more productive and fun way of working — wherever its employees are.
Streamlining communication from anywhere
How do you start a company when you and your business partner work across different time zones? That’s precisely the issue Hans Sebastian, Head of Engineering and Co-Founder of Julo, faced when he and his partner were launching their digital lending business back in 2016.
Sebastian was in San Francisco, while his partner Adrianus Hitijahubessy was based in Boston. To add to the complexity, both were working full-time. From the get-go, the pair understood the necessity of having a collaboration tool that would drive work forward, wherever employees were.
For Sebastian, Slack was the obvious choice.
“We needed a collaboration tool where we could discuss technical stuff but also coordinate tasks simultaneously and remotely. As soon as we brought on Slack, we saw a change almost immediately,” says Sebastian.
The Julo team continued to use Slack after it moved its operations to Indonesia. As the company grew, Slack grew with it, centring Julo’s work, conversations and files in one place.
According to Sebastian, the ability to search across Slack Channels—a shared space that brings the right people and information together in channels—has been a game-changer. He adds that Slack Workflows—the ability to automate routine and repetitive tasks, so employees can get answers and approvals faster—to log and track bugs have boosted the company’s productivity.
“We direct the majority of our system alerts to Slack channels. It means that the people in the channel can then investigate and solve issues faster,” says Sebastian.
“We needed a collaboration tool where we could discuss technical stuff but also coordinate tasks simultaneously and remotely. As soon as we brought on Slack, we saw a change almost immediately.”
Harnessing Slack Connect to make external collaboration more productive
For Tokopedia, a technology company with a leading marketplace, one of its biggest productivity gains has come from using Slack Connect—a shared space where companies can connect with partners, vendors or customers—during its merger with Southeast Asia’s leading mobile on-demand services and payments platform Gojek to form GoTo Group, Indonesia’s largest-ever business combination and the largest digital ecosystem in Indonesia.
For the merger to run smoothly, both companies needed a productivity platform that would allow them to come together, create new processes and chart strategic goals.
Slack Connect meant both teams could be on the same page, says Harris.
“Imagine trying to orchestrate a merger over email. Slack Connect promoted collaboration between our two companies, allowing us to communicate about joint projects and announcements,” he says.
And Tokopedia’s love of Slack Connect still holds strong, with thousands of Tokopedia employees using it daily to collaborate with external partners.
“On Slack Connect, we can relax knowing our communications are secure and connected,” says Harris.
Eliminating meetings and focusing on work that matters
Shared knowledge and context are crucial for decision-making — this is a motto that Sebastian lives by. It’s why he’s such a big fan of Slack; it’s the ideal platform for building and sharing knowledge efficiently.
Take Julo’s development retrospective meetings, which were held every two weeks. While these meetings are crucial for innovation and improvement, there was one issue — they were routinely going over time, sometimes running over two hours.
The problem? No set agenda.
Slack could automate this too. The team uses a Slack Workflow to share an agenda before each meeting so all attendees know what will be covered and how long each agenda item will take.
“Automating agendas allows us to carry out discussions offline before the session, especially if there’s something that’s not going to be relevant to all meeting attendees,” says Sebastian.
“This means that when the meeting starts, a lot of the tactical items have already been resolved and employees can focus on forward-looking action items.”
Now, meetings always end on time. And the less time employees are spending in meetings means more time spent on productive and meaningful work.
“Some teams even have additional time to discuss ideas during the meeting. So Slack helps to make meetings shorter or most of the time avoid meetings at all!” says Sebastian.
Tokopedia also loves how much more productive the company is thanks to Slack. Using Slack Integrations—the ability to connect tools and services with Slack without leaving the workspace—the company has integrated 490+ applications and built 20+ custom applications into its Slack environment.
“We can submit leave requests or tickets to IT directly in Slack. We don’t need to submit tickets through an external portal. This has dramatically increased how productive our employees are,” says Harris.
Keeping external conversations within Slack allows Julo’s employees to quickly locate information on its partners and vendors — no searching through never-ending email threads or apps required.
Imagine trying to orchestrate a merger over email. Slack Connect promoted collaboration between our two companies, allowing us to communicate about joint projects and announcements.
Supporting employee well-being
Supporting employee well-being is a priority for both companies, and they’re using Slack to create a culture of holistic wellness.
For Sebastian, Slack allows him to lead by example.
“I am a morning person. I am often productive before most people even wake up,” he says.
To avoid sending messages before his colleagues are awake, Sebastian can schedule his posts for when his colleagues are online, meaning that no one feels obligated to respond to messages out of hours.
Tokopedia creates a similar employee-centric culture. Using Slack Integrations—the ability to integrate industry-leading software and custom apps right into Slack—it uses Salesforce Service Cloud to create a care service, so its employees feel as valued as its customers.
“Tokopedia Care is something we’re proud of — it gives our employees a direct channel to connect with our Tokopedia Care team in Slack. If they have issues with their Tokopedia or Gojek apps, they can directly reach out to the team on the Slack Channel,” says Harris.
By putting their employees first, both companies are actively creating better work environments and fostering a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.