Slacking has become extremely popular amongst businesses and employees over the last year. In fact, we love to slack here at Spot On Solutions. Now, when I say slack I don’t mean we spend all day at the water cooler gossiping and we definitely don’t sit around playing candy crush instead of filing those monthly reports. So what exactly am I talking about?
Slack is considered to be a messaging application. The idea behind Slack is to make communication easier and more effective between co-workers and collaborators. Slack is one of the hottest startups of 2015 and was worth $2.8 billion by then of the fiscal year, and it’s predicted to almost double in size by the end of 2016.
How to Get Started
To get started with this amazing service go to Slack.com and type in your email address. You will then be sent through a series of prompts. First, you will be asked to name your team. This is the name your entire Slack team will use. Most teams will use their company name. You will be given a custom URL that you and your employees will use to sign into Slack. You will then get to pick your own username so that your coworkers will recognize you. You can keep this professional and use your own name or you can give yourself that cool nickname you always wanted in high school. Once you have picked your name you will receive and email to setup your password. Next, you can send invitations to your coworkers so you can get started.
Slack offers three basic features:
Channels help you organize conversations within the Slack team in what is called “open channels.” When a channel is created, any who is part of your Slack team can see what is going on with that channel. Open channels have a transparency that makes it easy to stay up to date on what’s going on all across the team. The best part? When someone new joins, all the information they need can be laid out, ready for them to read up on.
To help prioritize projects or tasks that are important to you, we suggest that you use the start option to favorite a handful of your top priority channels using the star icon in the upper left-hand corner of the message area. These could be channels containing your certain projects, upcoming events, or urgent tasks you need to keep an eye on.
Private channels are exactly what they sound like. A private channel is a place where you want to include confidential information for select team members.
Direct messages are just like email or Facebook messaging. You can instant message a single co-worker directly.
While sending messaging and posting comments in Slack is pretty easy, there are a few tricks worth pointing out. You can use the @mention to get someone’s attention in a channel. Just type @ followed by the team member’s username and they will see a red notice on the channel. If their notifications are setup, they will be notified via email or mobile device even if they are not active in Slack. You can also notify everyone in the channel by typing @channel before your message.
Slack offers a ton of advanced features that will get you excited about team communication.
- File Sharing
- Link Sharing
- App Integration
- Much More
We will dive into these advanced options in our next blog, “Becoming a Pro Slacker.”
Lastly, a major perk and a big win for Slack is the easy accessibility. Your account has a unique URL and each team member is given a unique username and login. Use the unique URL in any browser, answer, sign in and you are set to go. You can also create a shortcut icon on your Desktop via Chrome or you can download the Slack app on your mobile device.
There are a ton of other great things Slack can do to improve the efficiency of your business and we have only uncovered the top of the iceberg. To learn more about becoming a pro slacker, check the next article in our Slack series, “Becoming a Pro Slacker.”