Slim down your inbox with the all-encompassing app, Slack
The last time we spoke – I gave you a quick glimpse into the wondrous world of communication within a remote-based business. As you already know by now, AIM is located in two different countries, in two different time zones. This is great for our clients, because we are more available to them, regardless of hemisphere or business hours. However, it’s difficult to wake up 5 hours after Ireland, with an inbox laden with emails and fires that need to be extinguished before I’ve had a chance to hit the snooze button. A lot of those emails could be solved with a quick call or message to team members, and luckily there’s a great tool to organize (and amuse) your business or team, without the constant ‘ding’ from Outlook.
Email is dead.
Okay, that’s dramatic, email isn’t exactly going away any time soon. But we’ve all been there: becoming engulfed in an inbox of happy hour invites mixed with confidential information and basic to-dos for the day. There’s even a thread of emails where 10 different people respond to an email from an hour ago, without taking the time to read anyone else’s answers on the current issue…. And don’t get me started on the emails that managers get – CC’s, BCC’s, questions about an employee’s work, requests to have off for vacation… We can’t drown out ALL of the inbox noise, but we can start with our own internal team’s communication. Applications like Skype and HipChat have plenty of reputable features, but it’s Slack that we’re currently in love with.
When ‘Slacking’ becomes the most productive thing you can do
Like my last article to you, Slack is one of the most important tools that AIM uses to communicate. We’re lucky enough to get so much value from the free version, but there are benefits to paying the monthly fees and going with their account upgrades as well. The best one being that we could communicate with people (clients, different agencies) on projects by creating guest accounts that have access to specific conversations, taking email out of the equation when necessary. Slack, in its purest form, is a storage facility for your team’s communication. (It stands for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge). But here are 3 main reasons on why your team should try out Slack:
- Division of Channels
I touched on this last time, but it is incredibly important to separate different conversations and subjects into different channels. This is one of the main ways how there could be decreased usage of email chains in general while ensuring all of your team is ‘in the know.’ You can add yourself, or invite certain team members to these dedicated conversations. We have channels dedicated to each of our clients, potential clients, marketing platforms, upcoming conferences that we are putting together for you [link to signup?], and much more. Despite its sophisticated search feature, this organization helps us decipher between water cooler chat (filled to the brim with inside jokes and emojis) and productive conversation about a project. Take a gander at a generic (although realistic) organization of channels at AIM:
- Slackbot – the perfect personal assistant
Slackbot is your technical best friend. It can be programmed to remind yourself or team members of important tasks, answer general Slack questions, customize automatic responses, and everything in between. Remind yourself of a pending task by setting a Slackbot reminder, which will send you a direct message at the time you specify. For example: The Irish office has a confusing wifi password that people can never remember when a new person or visitor comes to the office. Behold, Slackbot to the rescue. Here is a list of helpful slash commands to establish your own relationship with Slackbot. (https://get.slack.help/hc/en-us/articles/201259356-Slash-commands)
- Integrations – playing nicely with other apps
Slack has a ton of integrations built in that can help you work on multiple apps within the same environment. For example, we love the Zoom app integration, making it easier to launch a video call at the touch of a button, and not having to worry about opening that pesky Outlook calendar to find the Zoom ID. I could go on about how great Slack is, but why keep this conversation only on one channel? There is so much more to Slack, so if you’re interested in getting your team off email-dependency, get in touch with me (I know I know, I might as well be asking you to send me a carrier pigeon… but baby steps here).
Project Manager, AIM.