Slack Survival Tips

✨ Slack tips to survive and thrive online 🚀

Published: Thursday, Apr 21, 2022 Last modified: Monday, Dec 5, 2022

Prompted by Rehan van der Merwe and my plea video.

Proposals to make Slack better at workplaces:

Tag @mention the relevant team member

If you don’t tag the team member you cannot expect that team member to read it.

Don’t forget Mentions & Reactions

Mentions

When a colleague first mentions you, it might not appear in Threads!

Hey Kai, if you started the thread, replied to the thread, or were mentioned in the thread, you should be notified whenever there's a new reply — check that notifications for replies is turned on by following these steps: https://t.co/lkFkckSNiZ

— Slack (@SlackHQ) September 5, 2022

Direct messages

Push conversations with your colleague’s consent to a public channel for everyone’s benefit.

Run your standup

Try Slack’s inbuilt Workflow Builder for collecting updates from your colleagues.

Use topics

People tend to ignore Topics (maybe Slack will better highlight topics in future..), but it can help with team goals and announcements.

Bookmark BOOKMARK ! 🔖

Searching is hard with Slack. Is you see a message that is remotely useful for your work, Add to saved items! Thank me later.

Limit amount of channels

More channels makes it more difficult to navigate between and as a consequence hides content. Keep your team to one channel.

Prioritise by Stars

If you are working across teams, star the channel if you need to do something with it. That way you’ll get a clean side bar.

Use the reminder function to remind yourself to respond

Typically one can use both the bookmark and reminder function to not miss an important message or question.

Bookmark across teams using Pins

Instead of bookmarking, you can Pin important messages. Other team members will be able to see it.

Pinned messages

Focus time

You can set your slack work hours, it will put the 💤 icon next to your name if you are offline.

Notification schedule

Use huddles!

Frictionless quick conversation and share your screen via huddle.

You don’t need Zoom or Google Meet.

Record a video clip

If you need to show something, instead of calling for a huddle and a screen share, take a short video of the issue!

A video can be worth a 1000 words if you are reporting a bug for example that relates to UX. It also avoids wasting time, since you can retake the video to make sure it communicates your intent.

Organise channels

Group and organize your channels in the menu by category (called sections), you can even place an icon next to each category.

Foster a positive culture

Use Emojis ! 😁

Some workspaces make Friday a half day and make it a point to recognise the past week’s worth of work with some “shout outs” and fun.

Last, but not least summarise

Add carriage returns to a slack message to make it more readable

When there is a finding / decision / conclusion, make the effort to summarise. A good structure is the Alexandrian Pattern (also used in ADRs):

  1. Context
  2. Problem
  3. Solution

The summary ideally fits in a 280 character tweet!