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HP Tech@Work
Today's trends for tomorrow's business

6 Slack Tips for Remote Workers

Stay connected when you’re apart

Now that you’re settling in for the long haul as remote worker, your communication tools are more important than ever—there may not be any formal in-person meetings or casual water-cooler talks for quite a while. If your company uses Slack, you’ll want to make sure it’s a medium that allows you to have efficient work communications and friendly, team-building chats, too. Here are some of the best ways Slack can help you stay connected with your coworkers, even when they’re far away.

Keep things tidy with channels

First things first: A well-organized Slack space makes it easier to communicate. Slack allows you to build channels for conversations—you can build channels for each department, major projects that are cross-departmental, and even ones that invite clients or vendors outside your organization to chat with you. It’s good Slack etiquette to create a nomenclature for these channels—things like “#team-[team name]” or “#proj-[project name]”. If your company is already using a mishmash of nomenclature, or isn’t using channels at all, stepping back and doing a little reorganizing can go a long way.

Make a read-only announcement channel

If Slack isn’t used wisely it can create a communication overload; team members may mute busy all-staff channels to minimize their distractions, and they might miss important company news. Even at a small- to medium-sized business, it’s important to have an “#announcements” channel that’s read-only for most staff and used sparingly. Lower tier Slack plans allow you to use the “#general” channel for company-wide announcements that admins control; at the higher tiers you can set up multiple read-only channels.

Create dedicated work-from-home spaces

Adding a “#wfh-” category can facilitate discussions, questions, and tips about working from home. Depending on the size of your company, you could have a variety of work-from-home channels, such as one for parents, and another for remote tech support. And don’t forget the Friday virtual happy hour channel (BYOB, of course).

Add a few “just for fun” apps

Slack has several apps that that let your team socialize and build camaraderie as well. You could start by setting up channel prefix like “#fun-” and create spaces for internet memes, pop culture, or sports (whatever your team likes best). Here are some to explore:
Giphy: Who doesn’t like to see a cute kitten or puppy in their timeline? Lighten the mood of a conversation with an animated gif. Use the command “/giphy puppy” (or whatever image you’re searching for) and choose a gif to insert into your conversation instantly.
Birthdaybot: It’s the remote version of cupcakes in the company kitchen or a team lunch out. Just plug in the birthdays of everyone on the team and Birthdaybot starts a celebration thread on each person’s birthday so teammates can send them well wishes (and use Giphy to send a virtual cake).
HeyTaco!: Give virtual props to your teammates for a job well done—just write a quick shout out to a coworker and add a taco emoji. HeyTaco! tallies up which individuals and teams are receiving the most tacos so your HR team can send out rewards; some remote reward ideas include meal subscriptions and home workout accessories.

Get ongoing feedback with polls

Chat threads can be inefficient when your team needs to make a decision. Native polling apps such as Polly can help you see where people are at on big issues (such as how they’re feeling about returning to the office) as well as remote “pulse” surveys that offer general insights about how employees are doing during these stressful times. You can also do casual polls using emojis (or “reacjis” as they’re called in Slack) for quick feedback on a question—add a check mark for yes or an X for no, for example.

Host virtual Q&As

In some ways, virtual all-hands meetings and town halls can be more interactive than in-person ones. Slack apps like Slido and Jellyfish allow you to set up a Q&A channel that lets employees ask questions either in advance or in real time. They can ask questions under their name or anonymously, and other users can upvote or downvote the questions so the speakers can prioritize what to answer. A Q&A channel can also be used for “office hours” with an executive outside of a large meeting, as well as more casual introductions, such as a fun “Ask Me Anything” session with a new coworker.
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