With over 2 million users and growing, there is no doubt that Slack is an amazing tool for businesses. It encourages office communication and boosts productivity. Most importantly, it’s fast and easy to use. BUT BEWARE of its unintentional consequences, especially with the new overtime law.

It is addictive!

Just like many apps that keep us connected and engaged, this tool does not fall short. Just look at the nice colorful hashtag! Don’t you just want to click it all the time?

It lures you during non-working hours!

  1. Do you click and engage in work conversations via your personal mobile device?
  2. Do you use it on your days off?
  3. How about your non-exempt employees (those who are entitled to overtime pay)? How often are they holding work conversations on this fascinating tool outside of working hours?

It requires you to manage the use by those entitled to overtime pay!

For those employees who are non-exempt from overtime pay, any work outside of the office should still be accounted for. This includes emails, phone calls, and other forms of communication such as Slack. In reality, a quick response here and there won’t cause a big to do, but technically (and if this becomes a regular occurrence) you are liable to pay overtime.

Reclassified employees may have a hard time transitioning!

Let’s back up a bit. The new overtime rule is redefining who must be considered exempt from overtime pay and who is not exempt from overtime pay. So, if you have employees who are now tracking their time and are used to engaging in conversations outside of normal work hours, you can run into a problem.

How do you address these issues?

The first step is to create a “Slack Use Policy” that works best for your company. In the policy, you can prohibit the use of Slack during non-working hours for everyone, on a personal devise, or just for those entitled to overtime. At the minimum, non-exempt employees should be limited to using Slack outside of working hours in order to avoid unnecessary overtime pay.

The second step is to communicate and implement the policy (this may be a bit more difficult). After the new policy is distributed and explained, it is suggested that employees sign an acknowledgement of the policy. As far as implementation goes, it can be a bit difficult for existing employees to get used to the new rules. A friendly reminder here and there may work best for a few weeks.

In Short

Using Slack during work hours is undoubtedly beneficial to operations. Outside of the office is another issue. Remember, you have until December 31, 2016 to comply with the new overtime rule. It is best to recognize grey areas in your operations, such as the use of Slack, as soon as possible. Creating a “Slack Use Policy” will help your company clearly define the rules and expectations of its employees in regards to the use of Slack.