Slack is killing your productivity. Here’s how to fix it.

Photo by Fabian Irsara

At Talla, we really like Slack.

No surprises there, as we just launched a product, our Task Assistant, that lives in Slack. But internally, our team communicates a lot through it too.

However, here’s a complaint I often hear. In Slack, you are faced with two options on a daily basis:

  • Option 1: Accept that you will never do focused work again in your life, except when your co-workers aren’t online. That means never.
  • Option 2: Boldly go where no one ever goes, and sign off Slack, and fear you are missing something important. Because you probably are.

Whether you find this mildly exaggerated or too real, we can all appreciate that some teams get a little noisy on Slack. I am of the opinion that most of a team’s experience with the platform comes down to management and communication norms. There’s a bunch of functionality in Slack (and apps in the App store) that you should be using, because your whole team can work better with them.

So, we asked Slack experts about how their teams make the most of it. Here’s the best advice we got — hope it’s helpful to you, too:

  • Know when to take things offline: A 15 minute standup is better than a 5 hour Slack conversation. We’re with Mike Bryant on this one.
  • Jon Minners suggests you use Slack for real-time projects, and email for things that aren’t so time sensitive.
  • Don’t let your team’s account get cluttered with inactive channels. Just archive them, because Nicki Friis says so.
  • For distributed teams, good time-savers can be: The Google Hangout integration, from Emma Cossey. Or the Zoom integration per Alena Prokharchyk’s wisdom.
  • Tabbing back and forth between conversations and channels is quicker with the Command + K shortcut. Jean-Baptiste saves time with this one.
  • There are great uses for Slack when it comes to Onboarding new employees. Right, again, Jon Minners. (At Talla, we quite agree. In fact, one of the things our intelligent assistants can help with is assisting with onboarding, because so many new employees go through the same flows, and have similar questions. We also have new team members read recent Slack channel conversations, to get up to speed.)
  • Take advantage of Slack’s search and use it as the primary place for doc sending. File sharing in email gets messy, and things get lost, says Sabrina Son.
  • Structuring your channels by project (and archiving them when you’re done) works well for some teams — and you can pin important messages and files right in them. True, Kenton Hansen.
  • Use Slack as a place to get connected. More communities have Slack groups you can join, via Roger Verhoeven
  • Use the /giphy integration. (because GIFs = team building. Says me. And, Adam Lowe)
  • Get Talla! We just released our first assistant, which manages your to-do list right in Slack, and will send you helpful reminders.

If you’ve got more tips, share with me in the comments. I’d love to hear them.

P.S. Thanks to our awesome Social Media intern, Maureen for helping find this Slack wisdom!