If Shakespeare were alive today, his working habits would look very different. One of the world’s greatest playwrights could fire off ideas for Romeo and Juliet on WhatsApp, or plot out the storyline to Macbeth in a carefully managed Asana project. But in an age of near-constant distraction, he may struggle to work at all.
Communication vs Focus
Great work requires great focus. In her best-selling book, Quiet, researcher Susan Cain describes a vital link between solitude and creativity. The finest minds in history – Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Steve Wozniak – came up with their ideas through periods of being alone (“You’re going to be best able to design revolutionary products and features if you’re working on your own,” Wozniak noted in his memoir).
The advance of modern technology has all but eroded this capacity. Even when we are physically alone, our space is constantly invaded by the ping of an incoming message, or the tempting flicker of an Instagram notification to activate the brain’s hungry reward system. These notifications have become so addictive, we’re reminded of them just by having our phones sitting nearby. We don’t even have to pick them up.
The Demands of Remote Working
Remote working has entirely transformed the way we operate, but the solutions we’ve come up with to facilitate this shift are creating new problems.
Those working outside the office must stay in touch with their teams effectively. They require tools that will help them to manage virtual projects, and connect seamlessly through screens. They need a way of ensuring free-flowing conversations that can rival those water cooler moments in real life.
We’ve seen the growth of instant messaging platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams: great software that allows virtual workers to be present and relevant at all times. The issue is, now we’re too present.
The same tools that promise to enhance team communication are coming at the cost of all other work.
There are two major reasons why. Firstly, instant messaging platforms are nearly always siloed, meaning you have to log in to the same tool as your clients or team members in order to collaborate. And some apps are better at certain functions than others, too. You may use Trello for project management, for example, or iMessages for personal chats. This means that you cannot rely on one tool alone.
Secondly, these apps are invasive. Since there’s no one-size-fit-all option, we typically have three or four running simultaneously alongside email. And so, we find ourselves caught in a constant flood of notifications and app-switching. It’s commonly known that we perform best when we tackle tasks without interruption. But doing so is impossible when you’re forever jumping between apps, zapping your focus as you go.
So Much Choice, So Little Freedom
With so many options on the table, it’s amazing to think that most tools still implicitly operate by an “either/or” mentality. You can stay in touch with your team or you can focus. You can either be bombarded with messaging notifications, or you’ll be out of the loop. There’s no inbetween. So much for the freedom of tech.
And email, of course, lurks in the background of everything. We still use email as the default for a lot of tasks, such as introducing ourselves to a new client or making calendar appointments. Even basic day-to-day tasks like signing up for a Netflix account, or receiving house bills, all happen by email.
And there are still lots of things that email can do that other apps cannot. For example, it’s hard to keep track of information exchanges in an instant messaging app, since any discussion points quickly get lost in new threads of conversation. And email is asynchronous, so there’s no pressure to reply to incoming mail straight away: a rare quality in an always-on world.
Yet email, with all its clutter (headers, signatures and more), feels clunky next to the shiny new sphere of messaging apps. It’s overly formal, with a lack of personalization that creates distance between users. There’s no sense of human connectedness. Traditional email is flawed.
Re-engineering the Landscape
By the year 2025, it’s estimated that 70% of the US workforce will work remotely for at least five days a month. We’re working faster and more efficiently than ever before, and our personal and work lives are overlapping more. And yet, communication apps, for all their wizardry, are unable to keep pace with demand.
Few are able to solve this tricky payoff between communication and focus, which hands Spike a competitive advantage.
Spike takes the principle of email, a tool we all use every day, and makes it into a superpower. It reworks the things we find frustrating, replacing the traditional inbox with a slick, people-orientated domain that enables uninterrupted workflow.
The result is a tool that has adapted to meet the needs of a fast, on-demand working environment. Spike has all the convenience of iMessage, Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, but minus the constant distractions.
Not only that, it uses your inbox in a way that allows for both real-time collaboration and deep-rooted focus. Spike fixes one of the biggest dilemmas of the modern age: how to stay in the loop remotely while also getting stuff done.
Finding Focus and Flow
Spike combines the best of email and messaging in an easy conversational format that delivers on speed and performance. Gone is the bloat of email, and in its place, a seamless and personal chat function that feels more like talking in real life.
At a point where many people feel overwhelmed by tech, Spike gives the power of communication back to you. You get to choose when you reply to people, whether that’s a quick real-time chat or a pre-scheduled response that’s set to go out overnight. You can seamlessly sync from any device on the move, swapping from laptop to phone and back, as you to pick up where you left off.
Spike is a unified workspace that pulls together all your tasks, messages, calendar and more into one centralized hub. You can collaborate, set meetings or arrange a voice call without ever leaving your inbox.
Email doesn’t build up walls: anyone with an email address can access it. People with a Spike account can collaborate with people without a Spike account, and vice versa. Since nearly everyone has an email, and uses it every day, it’s a natural home from which to coordinate all your life admin.
By doing so, you can plug the gap between your work and personal worlds, with one centralized hub for all your tasks, appointments and conversations (this includes drawing together your work and personal emails), all in one place: your inbox.
With one workspace to do everything, you eliminate the need to use multiple apps. You don’t have to interrupt your flow by hopping between platforms, or constantly manage notifications.
Bottom line – Spike takes away the heavy lifting of communication, leaving you free to focus on actual work. It’s a brave new world: we think Shakespeare would approve.