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Slack Huddles try to re-create casual office conversations

You can start a real-time audio conversation with a group.

Slack workplace communications
Slack is adding features to make you feel like you're in an office.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Slack rolled out a new feature for paid users Wednesday, in an effort to virtually re-create the office dynamic of casually dropping by someone's desk. Huddles lets you easily start a real-time audio conversation with people in Slack, the company said.

You can start a Huddle in any channel or through direct messaging, and anyone in that channel is free to drop in or out as they please -- the virtual equivalent of that person walking by your desk. You can also share your screen within the Huddle.

Slack is also adding a built-in audio and video messaging feature, designed to let everyone "record their ideas and contribute to the conversation -- on their own time." It's coming to subscribers in the next few months. Also due later this year is a corporate directory, Slack Atlas, which'll let you find colleagues without jumping to a separate program.

The final new feature is scheduled messages, which lets you set up a message to send at a particular time. It's available to all Slack users.

"If you want to send a teammate a note, but know that they've signed off for the evening, you can now draft a message in Slack and set it to publish in the morning when they're back online," the company said.