For me, they are probably the most essential tool to understand. There can be several types of channels for several purposes and topics within an organization, so it’s crucial for group members to understand how these should be organized and used for internal communication (btw why not add a phone channel? Simply invite the Yodel bot to your Slack team). I’ll introduce you to the more important features that you definitely should know about:
Conveniently, you can establish policies to prevent notifications from being sent and received at all times of the day or night. One huge benefit of this is that a night owl can mention a morning person in the late hours of the night but the morning person will not receive this until the policy allows for messages to be received. This allows people to work and communicate whenever they work best without having to worry about disturbing those with different working hours. This feature will come in pretty handy when you want to put work away for a little while as you can set up “do not disturb” filters, so you can perfectly rest without any disturbance coming from work.
Anyone who uses applications for long enough will likely learn to appreciate the value of shortcuts (let’s give a big THANKS to shortcuts!). Something as simple as knowing how to use “cmd” + “t (or “ctrl” + “t” on windows) to open browser tabs or “cmd” + “w” (“ctrl” + “w”) to close them can turn into a quick time-saver that adds up thanks to the convenience of keeping your hands on the keyboard rather than scrolling around with a mouse.
Pressing “cmd” + “/” (“ctrl” + “/”) will show you all the shortcuts that are available on Slack. These are categorized into Channels, Messaging, and Extras that allow you to do anything from switching channels, marking conversations as read, or attaching files to a conversation. Perhaps one of the most useful “shortcuts” is using “/remind” in order to have the slack bot remind you, or @someoneElse to do a certain activity by a certain time. This leads us to the last great feature of Slack:
Slack allows for a plethora of customization options. Anything from themes to emojis and features can be altered in the user interface. You can click on “Customize Slack” in order to create new emoji for everyone to use or to program the slack bot to carry out a specific task when a certain keyword is used.
That said, we cannot simply glance over the one feature that was just mentioned: bots. Slack allows you to download plenty of bots that automate (and thereby facilitate) a range of tasks. These can do statistical work or even notify you when someone on the internet mentions your startup. You can even build your own bots that may be used internally or by the entire Slack community. Yodel is one of those bots that makes your working life a lot easier by integrating your business phone into Slack.
So if you haven’t already signed up to Slack, you should do it right away, and don’t forget to integrate Yodel with it! ;)
Co-written with Ed Alvarado