While Zoom is getting all the attention while people are forced to work at home, those of us already utilizing a remote workforce probably prefer Slack.
The strengths of Slack is that it not only allows you to create groups, private conversations, channels that would be like more general rooms that everyone can join, share links or attachments, etc, but it is a highly configurable service.
Slack can be configured practically to our liking: Notifications can be customized, from disabling them to activating any type, only those that are direct messages or contain words that we have selected, as well as selecting how the messages will be displayed, in a clean, clear and friendly way or compact to avoid possible distractions, among many other tools.
It could be fair to compare it with Discord, but for professional environments. And just like Discord, using plugins, programs and built-in features make the possibilities endless on how we can manage our teams.
If you are new to the platform, here a few tips that will help you make your channel a bit more efficient:
Snack: Breaking the ice between team members
I thought I would start off this list with a fun slack application I found on ProductHunt called Snack. The idea is to put team members together in one-on-one video conversations, in which they will have a discussion about a generated topic. It’s a great way to let your team bond without leaving them hanging in awkward moments without something to talk about.
When the plugin is installed, the #snack-club channel will be created, and users can opt-in by joining it. The bot willmatch up users based on mutual interests, but users still won’tknow who they will be matched with up until the video call is initiated.
Learn how to add Snack to your slack channel via their official website: https://aboutsnack.com/
Mentions in Slack (@)
Mentions are a useful way to ensure that you draw attention to team members towards a certain message/announcement.
If they have slack open on their device, they will hear a distinct notification that someone mentioned their name in Slack.
If you need to notify everyone in a single channel, you can utilize @channel or @here to trigger the notification for everyone logged in.
While it’s a very powerful command, it’s annoying when used by someone who abuses it. Reserve this command for only responsible moderators who will issue it during critical moments.
Automation in your Slack Channel (IFTTT)
IFTTT should not be, to this day, a service unknown to most internet users. It’s capable of connecting to various social media platforms and web apps, including Slack.
For example, if you stop to see how much the time you spend checking your email, see which messages require an action or task, write them down in your task management application and communicate them to your team or you delegate, you will see that it all adds up. Having more people on your team working remotely will only compound this issue.
That’s why they use of IFTTT along with your Email account can facilitate and reduce the time of mail management. In addition to other advantages, such as not having to go back to the mail to check details or follow the evolution of the task.
With a little extra creativity, there is much more you can do with IFTTT. This may include cross-posting social media posts in your channel, sending users private messages, and scheduling announcements in advance.
Integrate Slack with Google Docs and Google Drive
For teams of content creators, Google Docs documents are likely being shared back & forth more than anything else. When you integrate Google Docs within your channel, imagine the amount of time saved by each team member, plus it saves them from diverting their attention over to other browser tabs.
When you share a Google Docs or Google Drive links in Slack, the Slackbot will ask the person if they want to set up their account for integration.
Click “Yes, allow” and sign in to your Google Account. After you sign in, all you have to do is Click “Allow” once more and Slack will be hooked to your Google account.
Create Properly Formatted Messages
Keeping users engaged with what you have to say is hard to do if your text looks rather bland. Sometimes it is necessary to create a list, add a piece of code, use bold or italics in the message. Fortunately, Slack has a convenient way to format your messages.
Formatting options, however, can be enabled in different ways:
To bold text, wrap it around asterisks “**” or use this shortcut: CTRL + B
To use italics, start the word with underscores “__” or a shortcut: CTRL + I
To cross out text, use this shortcut: CTRL(⌘) + Shift + X
To create a block of quoted text, use the greater than symbol “>” or this shortcut: CTRL + Shift + 9
Use the backspace symbol “` for blocks of pre-formatted code. Or this shortcut: CTRL + Shift + C
For a numbered list, start earch line with a number or bullet point. Or use each of these shortucts: CTRL + Shift + 8 to create a bulleted list, CTRL + Shift + 7 to create an ordered list
Advanced Search in Slack
If you are part of a large workspace, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with everything all the time. This is why you need to search for certain messages that directly apply to you.
By using the default search, there are still lots of irrelevant results found by everyone in the channel. This is why you should start using advanced search filters.
If you only need to find messages in a specific channel, use: “in:#CHANNEL”.
This can also be used to sort by user by replaceing #CHANNEL with #Username.
Searching for Single User Messages Using “from:”
From: is a parameter that allows you to search for messages sent by a single user. You can also use it in conjunction with “in:” to find messages from a particular user in a specific channel.
Has: is a parameter that allows you to search for messages that have a particular element. For example, links, pins, reactions, or even messages you have marked. Use it as: “has: keyword”.
You can even look for specific emoji reactions if your team typically reacts to a certain type of news in a certain way.
Search Messages Within Date Ranges
There are multiple commands that help you find messages for specific days or even date ranges.
After: to search after a specific date.
Before: to search before a specific date. You can also use simpler search parameters like: “before:today” or “before:yesterday”.
During: narrows down your search to a specific date.
Slack is a tool design for business, but it can’t be tailored for your team’s needs without putting the effort to customize and use it efficiently.
Think about all the repetitive actions your team performs in Slack. Making things automated, efficient, and more convenient will only only benefit everyone in the long-term.