12 Ways to Use Slack to Be More Productive

By Scott Gerber

12 entrepreneurs share advice on how to use Slack for better communication and productivity around the office.

"Be less busy." Slack's motto encourages users to increase their productivity through their real-time communication platform, and many teams find that it delivers on this message.

As a messaging app designed with teams in mind, Slack has great features to keep your team members organized and in sync. From reporting in every morning to turning it on snooze when you need to concentrate, take advantage of Slack's great features to maximize your productivity.

We asked 12 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best tips and tricks for using Slack to get more done. Their answers are below:

1. Hold "Around the Horn" Conversations

Our marketing department has team members across the country, and every few weeks they meet in a Slack chat to have an "around the horn" conversation. It keeps all teams within the department up to speed on one another’s projects, and it's more efficient than having a video call. Anyone unable to attend that session can read the conversation after. - Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

2. Set Up Integrations

We have a lot of integrations in Slack, especially with Zapier, so that notifications from all of our other tools -- like Salesforce, Google Analytics and more -- get automatically pushed to specific Slack channels. Once you set up integrations, Slack becomes supercharged as the hub of your team's communications. Your team can be more productive when alerts are centralized and searchable. - Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

3. Create Channels for Targeted Collaboration

My team has created specific channels in Slack to help us collaborate on projects in a more targeted manner. Rather than using direct messages to connect people together for a discussion, we start a channel that contains everything connected with a project. This includes our discussions, files, images and anything else we need to help us all stay connected and on the same page. - Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

4. Assign an "Owner" to Each Channel

Everyone owns their own channel on our marketing team. Different people are responsible for social media, the blog, our podcast, etc. Each team member is a part of a dedicated Slack channel where we send updates on our work every day. We note what we did the past 24 hours and what we plan to do next. When our work is so intertwined, announcing these things keeps us accountable. - Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

5. Report In Every Morning

Each morning, team members post the three to six items that are most important for them to complete that day. It really helps with transparency and team understanding on a daily basis by fostering clarity about what's on everyone's minds. On a few occasions, sharing these updates has also fostered collaboration, evoking a, "Hey, I'd love to work with you on that," kind of response. - Dan Pickett, Launch Academy

6. "Mention" People Directly

We have several different group chats for different departments and projects. We use @mentions to call out people directly when they need to be aware of something. This informs the person and sends them a personalized notification. It helps us all stay on the same page and ensures that messages to a specific person don't get lost in the shuffle. - John Rampton, Due

7. Pose Questions

All questions from team members happen in Slack. This ensures that there's a record of all questions and answers, and they can be used for future employee training. In effect, many of these questions are then used as an employee handbook and as references for other team members. - Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

8. Leverage Cloud Integrations

Integrate Slack into your project management systems. Use Zapier to quickly connect other collaboration tools and Slack channels to keep on top of all projects and incoming requests. We use teamwork.com for project management and Slack for collaboration. When we marry the two and pull in project alerts, deadlines and notes, it saves time, improves collaboration and enables us to get more done. - Dan Golden, Be Found Online

9. Share Projects

Projects can be shared through Slack so that others can pipe in with their ideas and suggestions, or offer to help on a certain task within a project. In this way, it encourages a more proactive work environment and leads to many team members taking on new things to learn more and develop their skill sets. - Abhilash Patel, Recovery Brands

10. Set Reminders

Use the remind tool (/remind) to set reminders for the team instead of using a calendar with email reminders. Our automated reminders include meetings, hydration breaks, submitting timesheets and any other actions normally done by an office admin. This is a great way to automate productivity for your team. - Anshey Bhatia, Verbal+Visual

11. Use "Do Not Disturb" Mode

Once you've mastered Slack's best practices and it becomes the hub of your team's communication, you may find that the constant notifications can paradoxically harm your team's productivity due to their interruptive nature. When employees need to focus, encourage them to use the Do Not Disturb or Snooze features to avoid getting interrupted by non-urgent messages. - Roger Lee, Captain401

12. Plug Into Your Engineering Infrastructure

We've connected our engineering infrastructure to Slack so everyone in a project channel is notified as soon as a new build or deployment is available. More importantly, if issues such as failing tests need to be addressed, teams are made aware quickly and regularly. Engineering, quality assurance and project management stay in sync, which makes for great products and happy clients. - Christopher Myers, NewFoundry

 

Photo credit: ArthurStock/Shutterstock

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