My colleague, Gregory*, got trapped in a closet and Slack saved his life.
This harrowing tale of an incorrectly installed door knob and a water cooler began on an eerily quiet morning. Well before his coworkers had arrived, Gregory relished getting an early start in the chilled, unoccupied office. But first… hydration!
With the hardwood floor creaking beneath his feet, Gregory made his way to an office water cooler, located in a nearby closet. As he filled up his bottle, the door gently closed and locked behind him. He banged and banged on the door for hours, to no avail. Eventually the hours turned into days and we never heard from Gregory again.
Just kidding. But, that could have been the story if it weren’t for Slack. Thankfully, Gregory had installed the Slack app on his phone. Not knowing who was in the office and mindful not to bother those who were not, he sent out a call to anyone @here to open the door. Within seconds, he was free!
Earlier this year I joined Delphic Digital as the Digital Traffic Manager and was happy to see we had started using Slack. Coming from a previous role of managing remote development teams, I used it as a main (and often only) mode of communication. At Delphic, our team is mostly in one office, but having a way to communicate in an instant, archived, categorized fashion has made our team exceptionally productive. It’s also shrunk our email inboxes considerably.
Here are six Slack tips that might save your life one day, too:
Black Magic: Using Stars As To-Do List
In a fast-paced office like ours, it’s common to have a full Slack inbox. Messages come into project channels, one-on-one conversations and other channels with colleagues asking for various updates and deliverables. But, we don’t always have time right then and there to respond.
Rather than leaving a message marked as unread (and have it glare at you from the inbox), simply “star” the message you want to reply to and leave the “Starred Items” list open on the sidebar. Reserve time at the end of the day to respond, essentially using it as your daily to-do list. After you respond, “un-star” the message and poof – it’s gone!
A Kick in the Butt: Setting Reminders
Sometimes a starred to-do list isn’t enough. With dozens of messages throughout the day, I often need an extra reminder. To set a reminder, roll over any message, click the ellipses and click “Remind me about this.” Select a suitable timeframe and then you’ll be pinged at that time. This lets you stay focused on your current task and ensure that you won’t drop the ball.
Hitting the Philly Tech Scene: Integrating Google Calendar
Delphic has a robust team of passionate, driven and tech-obsessed people. Luckily, we’re based in a city that has no shortage of activity in the tech world. As such, we have a Slack channel called #delphic-events, which clues us into all of the great panels, happy hours and general merry-making in the Philly tech world. With a simple hook to our Google Events calendar, we have an easy way to let each other know about exciting tech activities in the Philly area. Keep an eye out for our team at the next Philly tech event!
Help, Help! Service Desk to the Rescue
Over the last year Delphic has grown its team by leaps and bounds. We needed a way for tech support to address issues quickly, so we created a #help-desk Slack channel, where staff can quickly notify the tech support team without distracting others (we also have a related user group to cut down on who is notified by these messages). This feature has made everyone’s lives immensely easier and has gotten us through some pretty spooky tech problems.
Boo! Pop-Up Projects Channels
Whenever we have the opportunity to bid on new projects (typically RFPs), the Delphic team is quick to respond. And that’s while we’re simultaneously running at 100 MPH on other projects. To keep the team focused, we create a “pop-up” Slack channel and invite all relevant contributors. Doing so allows everyone to communicate on the project, share deliverables and keep the RFP moving.
Through these pop-up channels, we’re able to avoid extra meetings, but still deliver work to the highest Delphic standards. When the RFP is sent and the work is complete, we simply archive the pop-up channel to reduce clutter.
Measure It: Analytics On the Daily
If you work in the digital world long enough, you get used to the ebbs and flows that come with a vast digital landscape and endless options for users. The marketing department at Delphic wanted a way to see and react to these changes in user engagement as quickly as possible. Using a bot called Arc, Delphic gets daily updates on numbers of visits and percent changes from the previous week and weekly updates on numbers of visits, visitors, mobile devices and top country of visitors. These regular updates mean that our team can spend more time analyzing rather than gathering the data, which means more time spent working with our clients to grow their digital presence.
We’d love to know: what are your favorite Slack tips, tricks, and -isms that help you manage your work? If you’re a Slack newbie, BEWARE… you’re going to start seeing it around every (tech) corner!
*name and identifying details have been changed to protect the innocent