Email, Basecamp, text, phone, social…
With so many ways to communicate, adding another channel can seem like a burden. But Slack’s tagline, “Be less busy”, lives up to its intent. This sleek and intuitive real-time messaging app lets you communicate in an organized way. It’s like a professional, office-friendly version of Instant Messenger. It has enough built-in features to make it stand apart from traditional texting and messaging, but at the end of the day, talking directly to other people is its primary function. And it serves us well.
Despite sharing one extra-large table with most of our office team (we have more rooms and desks, but we really like each other!), we constantly have Slack running to quickly and quietly communicate with team members without interrupting a conversation or quiet work time.
Discussion threads can be organized by topic and can include only the team members who need to see that thread – keeping notifications down. This curates the conversations, and even allows for ways to joke with each other without cluttering up our professional conversations.
For example, our office has a thread specifically for posting articles we find around the web and want to republish on our social media channels. If we did this via email, the whole staff would get anywhere from 5-15 email notifications daily, from shared articles alone, which would be 1) lost among the many emails we already receive and 2) annoying. By keeping those posts to a designated Slack thread for great articles, we can look for those articles at our convenience and find them all in one place. Slack also gives you the ability to search throughout the platform, for added convenience.
Other notable features:
Accessible by smartphone, tablet or computer. You can get “pinged” on the go when someone talks to you directly or posts to a thread you are part of. This is especially helpful when you’re not in the office but you’re waiting for status updates on certain projects. You know messages on Slack are work related and important when you may otherwise ignore texts or social media notifications.
Keeps you focused on work conversations. Although in some ways I use Slack as “glorified texting”, it can be easy to get lost in phone apps or text messages on my actual phone. I know that anything coming through Slack is related to work and important. If I’m avoiding looking at my texts or social media notifications to have a better focus on whatever I’m doing, a ping on Slack will still get my attention.
Makes sharing assets a breeze. As a digital marketing firm, nearly all of our assets are online. It’s a lot easier to send images, links or documents instantly and directly to a coworker through Slack so we don’t clutter up our email inboxes – plus it encourages the receiver to file appropriately immediately upon receipt.
Our team highly recommends using Slack as a supplement to any collaboration tools, especially if cutting down unnecessary emails and notifications is a priority. Bonus: add a channel just for fun and motivation – and never underestimate the power of a good meme.