Communicating with your team via e-mail can be a sluggish and unwieldy task. And when it comes to improving performance and getting things done, internal communication is still one of the most important factors for efficient team work. But if traditional e-mail communication is outdated, what would be a better alternative? Today, I will show you a great tool for creating a digital workspace for your team and successfully reducing the number of e-mails in your inbox for a more effective workflow.
- So, what is Slack?
Slack is a cloud-based software that creates a chat room for you and your team members where you can send direct messages, create different channels and groups, and streamline your workflows. It is a great way of simplifying communication and organizing your conversations in an efficient and optimized way, reducing the time that an e-mail correspondence would need. Moreover, Slack provides you with a searchable archive of old conversations and files that have been sent between members so you can find them easily when you need them.
Slack consists of the following main components:
- Teams – a team is the group of people you will communicate with via Slack – if you are a smaller organization, you will probably have all your colleagues at one chat room, but if you are a part of a bigger organization, you will have a variety of interconnected workspaces. To become a part of the team, you have to be invited by an Admin.
- Channels – channels can be either private or public, and they can be organized around a topic, projects, or departments; for example, if you want to have a channel only with the members of your Marketing team.
- Messages – these are the direct messages that you send to your team members, and they are only visible to you and the other member/s in your channel.
- Search – you can find the search box in the upper right corner of your workspace and use to to search any file or information within your channels.
- Notifications – this is Slack’s way of identifying the messages or elements that need your attention. You can choose to receive them on your desktop, mobile device, or by e-mail.
In other words, Slack is a communication channel for your business so you can reduce unnecessary e-mail and increase productivity.
2. How do I activate it? Do I need to download anything?
You don’t need to download anything to get started with Slack, but you have to be invited by a WorkSpace Owner or an Admin. A WorkSpace Owner is the person who created the chat room, and the Admin is the one recruited for managing and organising the team. If you are the one who is going to manage the chat room, you will be the one inviting other members.
3. Can I get a certification in Slack? Does it cost anything?
Surprisingly, you can get certified in Slack for the following profiles:
- Engineering Manager – click here
- IT Manager – click here
- Customer Support Rep – click here
Slack certification is a new project that Slack is working on, so you can expect more options for different profiles because some of them are still in beta version. It doesn’t cost anything and you can follow this link to wait for updates and more information, because the article is still in beta.
4. Slack Rating
PCMag: 4.5 / 5 (Editor’s rating)
GetApp: 4.6 / 5 (2378 ratings overall)
G2Crowd: 4.5 / 5 (4295 ratings overall)
5. What features does Slack offer?
Some of the features that Slack offers are the following:
- Status Updates;
- Instant Messaging;
- Activity Feed;
- Comments and Voting;
- Online status of coworkers;
- File Sharing;
- Version Control;
- Task Management;
6. What are the pros and cons of Slack?
- Reduces e-mail traffic;
- Facilitates connection between long-distance teams;
- Access to a repository of archived messages;
- A good variety of integrations;
- Documents and multimedia are easy to share;
- Multi-channel communication;
- User-friendly interface;
- Mobile apps.
- Creates expectations for instant reply to messages;
- Constant notifications can be annoying;
- History and call features can be improved;
- Can become a distraction;
- Can´t collaborate across multiple teams.
7. What prices are associated with it?
Free Plan: mostly suitable for small teams, doesn’t offer a lot of features, but it´s for unlimited amount of time. Comes with a file storage of 5GB and a maximum of 10K of searchable messages.
Standard Plan: 6.25 EUR per active user, per month, and it is billed annually. It is suitable for teams and businesses ready to use Slack for projects and a lot of conversations. Comes with unlimited searchable messages, 10GB storage per team member, unlimited third-party integrations, group video calls with up to 15 participants, and a lot of other features.
Plus Plan: 11.75 EUR per active user, per month, and it is billed annually. Suitable for businesses that need SSO, Compliance Exports, and other premium features. Comes with unlimited searchable messages and third-party integrations, 24/7 support with four-hour response time, 20 GB storage per team member, and a variety of other features.
To consult all premium features, click here.
8. Should I upgrade to Premium?
As with everything, it always depends on a variety of factors such as the number of members in your team, the amount of files you are sharing, and the amount of messages you are exchanging between members. If you are a small company, I suggest that you start with the free version and work your way to the paid versions as you see which features are useful for your business. If you are a bigger company, it will probably be a better option to start with the Standard Plan and move on to the Plus Plan if needed.
9. What other tools can I pair with Slack?
Slack provides a rich variety of integrations with other tools, such as:
- Google Hangouts – a tool for communication with your team members via voice calls and video conference;
- Twitter – a social network and micro blogging service;
- Git Hub – a library of source codes;
- MailChimp – an tool for automating E-mail Marketing;
- Trello – a collaborative project management tool;
- Asana – a project management tool;
- Blossom – a project management tool for software development;
- Google Drive – a cloud-based platform for storing and sharing files;
- Groove – a customer support tool;
- DropBox – allows team members to share files.
10. What else do I need to know about Slack?
Surprisingly, Slack has a very fun shop where you can buy cool branded stuff and support charities! Check it out here.
For getting started with Slack, make sure to check this article and this video.
I hope you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for more!