Woman relaxing with her dog by her side as she works on Slack. [iana_kolesnikova/Adobe Stock]
The more I use Slack, the more I'm learning the value of simple hacks that help me fine-tune the app to work best for me. Slack is your company's digital headquarters. It connects everyone you work with - both those in your business and your key partners and customers - and supports the way people naturally work together - in real-time or not, in-person and remote, structured or informal.
But as a product marketer with a large distributed team, it's not just increased productivity that I'm after with Slack. There are some great hacks that help promote well-being through Slack - my own, and that of my team and colleagues. They can help your growing small business promote overall mental and physical wellness while saving time, too. And, as the research shows, employee well-being is good for productivity.
Slack helps you to bring together the right people in one place around a shared goal, project, or initiative to create visibility and alignment across any topic. With access to all of this information, it's actually helpful to have some strategies for focusing on what's most important to you. I'm going to outline four easy Slack hacks that save time and foster employee happiness. How? They filter out what you don't need, so you can focus on what does matter.
1. Use Slack channels to clear your calendar of unnecessary meetings
One of Slack's most powerful features is, perhaps, its simplest: everything you post to Slack is always right there. With channels, you can bring the right people and information together to share ideas, make decisions, and keep teams aligned as you move work forward.
Using team channels to communicate announcements, status updates, event/deadline reminders, and the like really helps move work forward faster and create alignment without unnecessary meetings.
Eliminate unnecessary meetings - and help stop the meeting madness - by leveraging a team channel. Just set up a channel for your team (e.g., #sales-team or #finance-team), invite all of your team members to join, and post important announcements, files, and updates to the channel. Channel posts won't eliminate all real-time meetings, of course - sometimes you just need to talk things through. But using team channels to communicate announcements, status updates, event/deadline reminders, and the like really helps move work forward faster and create alignment without unnecessary meetings.
Instead of a weekly status meeting, you can create an automatic workflow that asks team members to share a quick status update at a certain time every week. It's super easy to get started with: here's a quick guide that can help.
Also, with the new Slack Clips feature, you can record and post audio, video, and screen recordings to communicate easily with your team, regardless of their time zone or location. You can use clips to share ideas and updates, or just to say hello.
2. Schedule messages
Scheduling messages to post at a future date and time is a great way to promote peace of mind. Know that your announcement, meeting agenda, or other important messages will be delivered to the team right on time, even if you'll be handling something else or away from the screen at the time.
Best of all, it's super easy to do!
Compose your message like you always do.
Instead of clicking 'Send,' click the downward arrow just to the right of the Send button.
Choose one of the suggested times, or schedule your message to post at a custom time of your choosing.
Slack's built-in schedule message feature allows you to send messages at a future time.
That's it! At the specified time and date, your message will post.
3. Connect with colleagues using Donut
We all need a sense of connection and shared purpose at work. Authentic relationships with our colleagues make us happier, more engaged, and more productive. If impromptu conversations aren't happening naturally while working on distributed teams, a Slack app called Donut is here to fill the connection void.
Donut introduces people on teams of all sizes via direct messages and encourages them to meet in person or virtually. A few ideas for using Donut:
Introduce new hires to their new teammates.
Facilitate daily conversation prompts in a channel.
Schedule virtual one-to-one coffee meetups amongst your team members.
Organize discussion groups or mentorship/shadowing opportunities.
Learn even more about how teams use Donut to increase connections and promote wellbeing, on the Donut blog.
4. Remind your team to take regular breaks
When it comes to cultivating good habits, we all could use a friendly nudge from time to time. Drinking water, stretching, or taking a short walk on a regular basis goes a long way towards well-being.
Here's an easy-to-setup Slack workflow to post a message to a team channel every day at a given time, with a reminder to take a break. Mentioning a team's user group will notify everyone:
Download the example.
Navigate to Workflow Builder and select "Import," then import the file you just downloaded.
Once imported, edit the workflow to suit your team. You can create a custom message, and adjust the publish time and frequency.
Publish and let everyone know you're looking out for their well-being!
At the specified time and date, your message will auto-publish, like this:
Slack's workflow builder can automate healthy habit reminders.
Slack is your company's digital HQ. It connects everyone in your business and supports the way you naturally work together. Hacks like these are just the beginning of how you can promote well-being - and foster productivity - using Slack.
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