Many companies are using Slack a lot more than email these days. [Stocksy/Jimena Roquero]
By now, you've probably heard a lot about Slack. Maybe you've even learned the basics of what it is and how to use it. But to really get the most out of it - to boost your work productivity - there are some tips and tricks you'll want to know.
Some of them are about simple etiquette: Like how to collaborate easily, without feeling you need to be online all the time. Some of them are about staying organized: Like how to simplify and prioritize your work in Slack, so you can stay on top of what matters most. And some of them are for fun, helping you feel like a human being in the highly digitized, work-from-anywhere world.
Make Slack work for you and your team
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Share your profile and availability
When you're working across teams, it's helpful to make your profile and availability clear and visible to everyone. This lets your teammates know when it's a good time to schedule a meeting with you, or whether you're the right person to bring into a conversation.
You'll want to fill out your profile, so other people at your company can get to know you better. For instance, your profile can include your location, languages spoken, and current time zone.
If you need to step away, it's a good idea to keep your status up to date. This lets others know how quickly you're likely to respond to messages, while Slack's Do Not Disturb feature limits untimely interruptions.
It's helpful to make your profile and availability clear and visible to everyone.
Keep up with work that's relevant to you
As you work on more projects, you'll likely see more activity in channels and get more notifications. That's where it becomes more important to understand how to use Slack to stay organized.
There are a few ways to use notifications to keep up with the work that's most relevant to you, and avoid becoming distracted by less relevant conversations. Adjust your preferences to get alerted for every new message sent in a conversation - or none at all. You can mute notifications for conversations that don't require your full attention, and leave a channel if it's not relevant anymore. You can always rejoin it later.
Organize and centralize work
Many companies use Slack a lot more than email these days because it's easier to find the conversation, attachment, or person you're looking for and stay up to date with your team. You can customize your sidebar to reflect your needs and mark messages as unread if you need to come back to them.
As you join more channels, your sidebar will grow, so it may be helpful to create sections to help organize your channels into custom categories. You can sort them by projects, teams, or the type of work you're doing. You can also sort the channels in each section.
If you want to make sure you don't lose track of an important message, just save it, and you can easily come back to it later in your sidebar.
You can sort channels by projects, teams, or the type of work you're doing.
Bring the right teammates into conversations
In Slack, as in the office, not every conversation is intended for the same people. You may need to grab the attention of certain teammates. Or you may want to share information that's useful for everyone in the channel. That's why it's good to know the different ways you can effectively get people's attention.
@Mentions are the most direct way to notify people of something that needs their attention in Slack. They are especially useful in directing their attention to something that may be easy to overlook. And they're not limited to individuals. You can @mention a group name, such as @managers, to notify everyone in that group at once.
For wider visibility, post in public channels. Or for more sensitive conversations, try posting in a private channel, which is visible only to people invited into them. You'll see a lock icon beside the name.
Keep conversations focused
Channels can get busy, and it helps to be strategic with where and how you communicate in them. One way to do that is by using threads, which keep conversations organized by linking replies in one place. Threads also make it easier to catch up on a conversation you may have missed.
Tired of typing? Add a reaction with an emoji to simplify communication and acknowledge messages with just a few clicks. They're fun, light-hearted, and convey a broad range of emotions efficiently and in a way that words sometimes can't.
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