As a company with 100% of our team working remotely, we use Slack for all internal team communications. It’s our office base, our kettle, our water cooler, our boardroom.
We chose Slack for two reasons:
1. All the creative agencies I knew were talking about it.
Following the crowd can often be the best thing you do: if the crowd represents who you want to be, and how you want to do things better.
2.Slack’s rallying cry was “No more email!” which is the goal of my life.
(Interestingly, their new rallying cry is “Where work happens”, reflecting the fact that it’s not simply for chat and conversations, but for sharing files and reviewing and connecting people.)
Here’s why we love it, and how it helps us run better:
Slack doesn’t work on an interruption basis.
Using Slack means we have access to our entire team all the time, but amazingly it doesn’t work on an interruption basis (like in a physical office).
If you’re working on something and don’t want to be disturbed, you snooze Slack notifications. If you see a question and don’t know the answer, you leave it for later and set a reminder.
It’s manageable by each team member depending on how their day is going – and it allows focused work without having to be socially rude.
When someone stops by your desk and says, “Hey, do you have a minute?” and you point-blank ignore them, things could get difficult. If someone sends a Slack message and it’s not replied to for a few minutes, no problem.
Slack integrates with everything.
There are integrations to everything – Google Docs, Dropbox, Hootsuite, Zoom, Stripe, you name it. Every few weeks Slack comes out with more integrations that make life better – and more productive.
We love integrations at the Profitable Firm – because why reinvent the wheel if you can combine five separate pieces to make a wheel?
That’s why we love Xero, and how it integrates with ReceiptBank and Futrli and Gocardless and TripCatcher and and and….the list goes on.
It’s why we use Infusionsoft for our CRM, which integrates with WordPress and Gravity Forms and Stripe.
Slack has a killer search function.
The search box in Slack is like a little mini-Google for all your team conversations.
Can’t remember that login? Type in ‘login’ and it will let you jump to that conversation you had about it a few days ago.
Trying to remember where the team meeting is going to be held? A quick search and the info from months ago appears in seconds. Talk about productivity.
Slack keeps us integrated as a creative team.
There are so many tiny questions in a business which you think apply only to one person. But what we’ve found with Slack is that almost every question impacts the rest of the team.
If one team member has a question about a client’s social media account, of course it helps that the Social Media Director weighs in: but the WordPress guy and the content writer and the designer may have a few thoughts, too. It keeps us more integrated as a team.
Getting started: Remember that people don’t like changing systems.
When we introduced Slack into the PF team the first time, it bombed. No one used it. They didn’t understand it or didn’t like it or ended up sending an email instead, because that’s what they were used to.
About a year later I tried again, but this time with clear instructions. We’re using Slack – all of us – in order to reduce email. That’s our rallying cry, our clear goal. Anyone sending an email that could have been dealt with in Slack is going to get a reply in Slack. If they send another email, another reply in Slack and on it goes.
The best win of all was when I sent an email to a team member, and they replied to me in Slack. BAM. Take that, Managing Director: a dose of your own medicine! I loved it. That’s when I knew the team had fully embraced it and we were all in.
Getting started: Go all in.
The thing with Slack is – like with any tool or system or software – you have to leap in and try it.
And like most new online tools these days, it’s really easy to figure out.
One of our team was on holiday when we started using Slack, and when he came back he had to sign in, figure out what it was and where to go and how it worked, and join the team meeting all within the space of ten minutes. He managed it no problems.
Whatever tool you use – Slack or Basecamp or Trello or whatever – make it mandatory, not optional. It’s amazing how quickly it will get picked up – and if you all hate it or it doesn’t work, you can decide as a team what you’re going to use instead.
Go all in!