The past two years have revealed a brighter future of work: greater flexibility and more time for life, whatever that may look like–taking care of family, taking care of yourself, spending more time with loved ones. But we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible when we can do more work in less time, wherever and whenever it’s best.
At Slack–the collaboration hub that brings the right people, information and tools together to get work done–we’ve been using data from Future Forum–Slack’s consortium that helps leaders reimagine how people, processes and tools can come together to Make work better–and feedback from our millions of users to build the tools that help workers be productive from anywhere, at any time. The future of work is now, so these digital tools have never been more important or valuable.
We create this tool and we also use it, so you could say we’re power users with strong opinions on how we can make work simpler, more pleasant and more productive. Here’s a list of our favorite (human-centriced)) productivity hacks:
Huddles are a way to have impromptu audio conversations right in Slack. They are designed to re-create the spontaneous and informal discussions from the office, like when you leaned over your cube to get a gut check from your work spouse. The typical huddle lasts 10 minutes–offering teams an alternative to lengthier video calls. It’s the digital equivalent of tapping someone on the shoulder, without the dreaded Zoom fatigue.
PayPal uses Slack Huddles for thousands of real-time audio calls every week. Intuit QuickBooks, creators of the popular accounting software, has also discovered the beauty of huddles.
“In a contact center, someone walked the floor to help agents in real time. Working from home, we couldn’t do that anymore. With Slack, you can see whether someone is available and instantly start a huddle, without having to schedule a meeting. It’s not only great for support and collaboration, but also keeps personal interactions alive in the same way as walking past someone’s desk,” says Gabrielle Dracopoulos, Intuit’s Head of Customer Success and Experience.
It may sound trivial, but emoji are actually immensely powerful to help foster connection, boost culture, and increase productivity and efficiency in a digital-first environment. Yes, we all rely on them for color and humor in our texts, but with the right guardrails, they can also improve company culture by promoting positive feedback and engagement that goes beyond words. Personalities can come out in a way that can be more challenging when we’re not in a person.
At customer support agency Influx, issues wind their way through the customer support journey, managed with the help of Slack emoji and reactions to convey information and action items. Service agents and other stakeholders can use familiar, friendly emoji reactions to quickly an issue’s status or incision.
“We use emoji to communicate things that need to happen,” says Influx’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Holmes, “from changes with what a client is expecting to onboarding a new client or a new product launch. With an emoji, you can see that someone’s seen your message. Then people can respond to it, and people can actually act on it.”
According to Slack’s research, 75 percent% of workers say showing their personality through informal work messages has helped them better connect with colleagues even when they’re not in the same office, while 73 percent think it has helped them navigate the transition to remote and hybrid work.
While Gen X and Mmillennials may have differing opinions on whether the crying-laughing emoji is still cool, they can both agree that using emoji at work helps introverts and extroverts alike convey meaning and can help teams foster an inclusive environment.
Whenever you step away from Slack–to grab lunch, take time off, or just focus on a task for a few productive hours–you can use a custom status in Slack to clue in coworkers on what you’re doing and let them know where they can go for answers in your absence.
Slack comes with five default choices for status, including meeting status, “out sick” or PTO. Slack admins can tailor options to fit a team’s exact needs. Or, for even more personalization and personality, you can create your own custom status to say and show exactly what you want.
Unlike with email, you don’t have to send a message to get an out-of-office response, saving time on both ends. And your coworker doesn’t have to worry about why your icon isn’t green, because they can see you’re taking a break to meditate and then walk the dog–freeing you both up to focus on what’s important and feel less anxious about being “on.”
Slack’s apps and integrations–including hundreds of thousands of custom-designed ones, and counting–help you get more work done, faster. Slack makes all your tools even better by bringing them into one place to streamline tasks and save you time by reducing context switching.
At Sonos, around 80 percent% of employees use apps in Slack to be more productive. According to Ruth Sleeter, CIO, “It has been easy to integrate with apps like GitHub, Google Calendar, Zoom and PagerDuty. We’ve created more than 200 Slack workflows to automate business processes.”
Syncing your calendar to Slack ensures you’re never late for that meeting that could’ve been a channel post.
Slack Clips allows you to create and share video, voice and screen recordings in Slack. It solves that age-old frustration of juggling calendars for a meeting, or when it’s just not necessary to meet at the same time. Instead, you can record and share a clip right in a Slack channel with a project update, presentation or feedback, and your colleagues can respond whenever it works for them–with text or video. Clips allow people to communicate with nuance and emotion in a way that text alone can’t, building connection and collaboration, regardless of time zones.
At Zillow, they’re beginning to experiment with a variety of different use cases for clips. At Slack’s Frontiers 2021 event, Meghan Reibstein, VP for Product Management & Flexible Work at Zillow, noted, “What I found really fun is the ability for whoever’s recording to slice that up and give it to different people at different times, or based on different slices of the content. Summaries of team chats and development things, things that used to happen in email–we’re, well, what if you just did this three-minute clip?”
A distributed workforce means we won’t–and often shouldn’t–always be on the same schedule. Often our best work doesn’t happen synchronously. There are huge benefits to working asynchronously: we’re more productive and have better work-life balance. We have a greater sense of belonging and can better manage stress and anxiety. Slack allows for asynchronous collaboration so people can work on their own time and others can jump in on their own time. This means that child care, elder care or other family obligations no longer have to be insurmountable obstacles.
Accessing Slack from iPad
Our engineers at Slack just updated the iPad app, and it’s getting rave reviews. Using the new app, companies like T-Mobile are better able to serve their customers. Their retail workers are better equipped to tackle everyday tasks like staying on top of internal conversations and sharing details of phone plans with customers. And since many of the retail employees are already familiar with Slack on their desktops and phones, the similar design of the iPad app can mean faster adoption and lower training costs.
These are just a few of the productivity hacks in Slack that can make work simpler, more pleasant and more effective. To learn more, visit https://slack.com/events/webinars/slack-productivity-hacks-and-best-practices.