How Slack can help your team be more productive and work effectively together
It’s pretty intuitive that a team that works well together gets more done and stays on longer. Getting a team to communicate effectively, share information easily and be in regular contact with each other can help with collaboration, boost morale, and improve the ideas your company has.
Slack: A Messaging App Especially for Teams
Slack is one tool you can use to help your team get there. It’s a messaging app with features designed especially for work teams. Unlike Whatsapp or other similar texting platforms, Slack has lots of integrations and built-in features that let you do all of your work communication in one place but stay organised while you do it. This post highlights some of their main features and introduces some integrations you can use with Slack.
Big Team, Little Team - Slack Channels help you stay on topic
When your company opens up Slack, you are all part of a Slack Team, with a unique url and login. Your company can then set up multiple “channels” that are located on the sidebar, and subscribe different team members to different channels.
This means any one employee can have access to the general conversation - where new office supplies are stored, what taco place around the corner is having a special that afternoon, updated stats on overall business goals, etc.
It also means they’ll be part of small teams, committees, or special-interest groups. You can open a channel for anyone on your team that needs to be in the loop with marketing - but keep all the marketing discussion away from others that don’t need to know all the day-to-day details. Employees can be on as many or as few channels as they want, and you can keep channels open for anyone to join or private. You can even write one message and tag whatever channels you want in it, to loop multiple groups in at once.
One of my jobs that used Slack was spread across three locations and was a very social group. Having a channel designated for sharing funny things or for inviting others to socialise is a great way to encourage team-building without cluttering your work space. I was part of the general channel, the channel for my location and our Fun Stuff channel. This meant that I could keep up with everything that was relevant to my work without getting cluttered with other locations’ chats.
Easily share your screen with whoever you want
From a video call, you can share your screen with whoever you’re talking to. This can help make it super easy to show exactly what it is you’re talking about -- whether that’s an issue with your own project or to show a website or other media you found that is relevant to your project.
Pin and Thread Messages
One feature you can use when you write messages is Threads. If your message warrants replies but those replies don’t need to be on the main page, you can start a thread to keep it separate (but still accessible). It looks like this:
Another messaging feature is Pinning. You can pin an important announcement to the top of a channel, so it’s the first thing anyone sees before going on to the most recent. For example, you can pin a reminder of a major team deadline next week to the top of their channel. You can also add a slew of emojis to any message.
Use Slack to share and search files of literally any kind
You can add anything made with Google Suite or DropBox straight in from a link, or drag and drop pdfs, photos, word docs or anything else to an individual, channel, group or everyone. Voila. They can be seen from desktop or phone, too. One of the best things, though, is that everything is searchable. You can go through your Slack archive and find messages or documents that pull up your search terms.
Well, for most teams. If you are in a small or medium company, it’s totally free. If you’re in a larger company, enterprise, or want some pretty heavy-duty features, Slack has paid plans for you, too.
Cool apps that go with Slack
One of the nice things about Slack is that it not only has built-in features that work well, but it has the capacity to allow plug-ins and integrations. Here are a few we like.
You can create to-do tasks for members or yourself, with deadlines, reminders and all that jazz, using To-Do Bot.
One of the annoying things about switching out of pen and paper is, well, sometimes a good old pen mark can be the easiest thing. Marker is an extension that lets you annotate screen shots you take from your phone or computer and send them on Slack
You can link Slack to your business phone line using Yodel, so you’re able to answer it through Slack instead. The advantage? You can connect over the internet instead of a service provider, and you can upload any music you want as a “please hold” background. Plus, you can have other team members access the business phone if you want multiple people on-call (get it?)
Because it’s your team, and you want your team’s opinion, Polly helps you create quick polls that get you fast answers. Whether it’s choosing where to have lunch, finding out what day works best for a meeting, or choosing a new design for your website, Polly lets you grab a snapshot of the answers.
Birdly is super useful, because it connects your CRM (like Salesforce) straight into Slack. You can search for any customer, and get an immediate summary of their important info. This is really helpful if you have a large customer service team.
You can connect Sway to your Slack, which helps you keep track of all of your company’s revenues and expenses. After you connect your bank account info, just ask Sway for a quick update and you can get a glimpse of how you’re doing. Great for startups or businesses that don’t have a lot of admin time.
NikaBot keeps everyone on track by asking each team member to fill in what they did that day. It can seem a bit micro-managey at times, but if you’re interested in knowing what specific projects your team is working on, and how much time they take, NikaBot creates full time sheets and reports.
Make It Rain
Make It Rain is a Shopify-specific app, that sends you a little funny image and a notification every time you get an order in Shopify. Might not be that useful, but makes you feel good!
Ok so this is definitely my favourite, not going to lie. Giphy lets you add gif reactions to anything by searching through the bazillion gifs available on their site, straight into Slack.
Want more info on helping your team stay productive?
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