The workforce is rapidly digitizing to accommodate the increasing numbers of remote work jobs. Online management and organization tools like Slack are replacing in-person meetings, water cooler discussions, and other face-to-face collaboration techniques.
Slack is a popular online organizing application, and there are a lot of nuances within it. Mastering Slack’s collaborative tools increase work efficiency and are good for career advancement.
An employee who uses digital tools to their full potential is indispensable in digital work. This is borne out by salary increases for workers with higher digital competency. Digitally dexterous workers make managers’ lives easier and show higher-ups that they are great resources for the company. To use Slack effectively, learn the basic etiquette rules and customize settings for efficient work and communication.
Learn the Basic Etiquette
At first glance, Slack is a simple message board; however, the more you learn about it, the more services you’ll find for you and your company, like video calls and private messages.
To begin, check out Slack’s getting started pages. They teach you the basic functions of Slack, like connecting a file to a message or the purpose of Slack channels. As you become familiar with Slack, follow these tips to present as an experienced Slack user in your company’s channels.
Tag people sparingly
Slack gives you the option to tag other employees in your messages. That includes individuals and tags that alert everyone to your message. Tagging “@channel” alerts everyone in a channel, and tagging “@here” alerts everyone who is currently active in a channel.
If everyone is always tagging everyone else, you and your colleagues become inundated with Slack notifications. Too many notifications make it hard to find action items and lead to people ignoring notifications. If everyone only tags others when necessary, this problem is resolved.
Send one Slack message, not multiple
The format of Slack lends itself to informal communication similar to texting instead of the formal communication email is known for. Despite this format, it is a good idea to send one thoughtful message instead of multiple messages in a row.
Multiple messages that contain important information are hard to search for compared to a single message. Plus, colleagues have an easier time replying in a thread to a single message than to a series of messages.
Use message threads
Message threads streamline conversations between two or more people in a single channel. They are like an intermediary option between a public channel and a direct message (DM). Everyone in the channel can access the thread, but they are not notified about it unless directly involved.
Threads keep a channel clear of messages pertaining to specific individuals. If you and your colleagues have notifications on for a channel, threads keep notification interruptions to a minimum. They are great for clarifying questions or updating team members on project progress.
Acknowledge messages with emojis
Acknowledging you have seen a message lets managers know you are informed on important matters. Use emoji reactions so that important channels are not filled with short messages acknowledging a discussion point.
Consistently use the same emoji to signify you understand a message to efficiently get your point across without adding a distracting notification.
Choose private channels over group DMs
Private channels accommodate group collaboration better than group DMs. If you need additional input, you can add new members after creating a channel but cannot do the same in a group DM.
Slack shows a limited number of DM conversations, so if other DM conversations take priority over the group DM, it becomes a challenge to find the group DM. Private channels do not have this problem because they always stay displayed under the channels tab or a sub-header.
Settings that Improve Communication
Beyond messaging etiquette, some settings catalyze effective Slack communication and minimize Slack-related distractions. As project channels start piling up and notifications become distractions instead of informative, it is more important than ever to understand Slack’s tools.
Master the search tool
The longer you and your remote team use Slack, the more information is stored within channels and DMs. If you need to find a specific message with important files or a set of instructions, it is more efficient to use Slack’s search tool than to search through past conversations.
You can write a set of filters into your search to narrow results down to the messages you need to see. For instance, the “To:me” filter for only messages sent directly to you and “has:link,” “has:pin,” “has:reaction” results in messages with links, pins, or reactions. You can search by date, who sent the message, by channel, and more.
Minimize Slack distractions
Work interruptions can seriously hinder your productivity, leading to longer work hours and potentially poor employee evaluations. Reign in unnecessary notifications from Slack by adjusting your notification settings, setting a notification schedule, and using the pause notification feature.
You can set your notifications to only notify you when you are directly mentioned, DMed or when a message has keywords. If there are consistent times in the day when you need to be uninterrupted, set a notification schedule that stops notifications for a specific amount of time.
If you intermittently need notification-free time, use the pause notification feature or update your status in real-time to inform others not to interrupt you. Since remote work brings people together from multiple time zones, keeping your colleagues in the loop about your status is important.
Improve Your Digital Dexterity With Slack
The necessity of digital skills in the current job landscape is undeniable. Just as office etiquette informed what actions were okay in the past, there are now Slack etiquette rules to be aware of. Follow these etiquette tips if you want to slip right into a new company’s culture and use Slack for effective collaboration.
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