Are you a Slacker? No, not a person who avoids work or effort, we’re talking about someone who uses the messaging app Slack. If you don’t know how to use Slack, then you may have a hard time pursuing remote work, which has become the new norm post-COVID-19.
Making sure you and your employees know how to use Slack is a straightforward way to keep your team engaged and in contact.
Slack is one of the best conversation tools and information applications. If you have never heard of Slack, are unsure how to use Slack, or are curious about the best practices, keep reading as we will give you all the information you could possibly need to begin Slacking like a millennial.
What is Slack?
Slack is a messaging application used across many different industries to boost communication and collaboration in the remote workplace. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield explained his inspiration for Slack’s name, revealing it is an acronym for: “Searchable Log of All Conversation & Knowledge.”
Slack is a hub where you and your colleagues can communicate through instant messaging/live chat. This will help free up your email from items that can be discussed in real-time. This makes it easier to get an answer instantly instead of sending an email and hoping they see it in time. You can also incorporate tools that you already use including Google Drive, Salesforce, and Zendesk.
Another advantage of Slack is the easy-to-upload file system where you can share and edit documents and collaborate. You are able to upload your files from anywhere, including your desktop computer, where you will be able to access and edit any files needed.
You may be hesitant to leave the comfort zone of your traditional email to use Slack, but know that they are similar in certain aspects. Similar to email, Slack also allows you to organize your messages by your preference.
Slack makes it easy to view and search for information from other applications your company may use. For example, if you use Dropbox, you can search through Slack for the exact file you are trying to find from Dropbox. Other tools and services that you can use through Slack are Google Drive, Salesforce, Dropbox, Asana, Twitter, Zendesk, and more.
One of the best parts? Slack is a free service. Of course, certain features will require you to pay to upgrade like most applications, but the free version can be more than enough for you and your remote team.
How to Use Slack: A Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s break down how to use Slack and the best way to optimize the app for yourself or your remote team.
Step 1: Download Slack
You can run Slack in browser mode if you are not fully ready to commit to downloading. If you are ready to download the app, then the latest version will easily allow you to get the most out of your experience.
First, ensure you download the main desktop app onto your computer. If needed, you can add the mobile app from the app store to your devices as well. You can connect to the app from anywhere, whether on an iPhone, Android, or Windows phone.
Step 2: Create your team
After you simply download and sign up, you will need to create your team page. This step is just as simple as the previous one. You will just have to enter your email address and follow the straightforward steps from there to confirm your email. Following the step-by-step directions will take you to a page where you will decide a username, password, and the best part, your team name.
Once you have created your team name, you can invite team members to this new page. You will need to do this through the “Invitations Page.” An email will be sent to your team members, which will allow them to create their own Slack account.
The new members will just have to sign up using their email addresses. You have overall access to deciding what channels your new team members will join by clicking on “edit/add.”
Step 3: Create your channels
Now that you have completed the first three admin steps, you can now finally work on the channels. In your desktop sidebar, click the “+” icon next to “Channels.” This will take you to the channel creation window where you will choose whether your channel will be public or private.
Typically, on Slack, the conversations are organized by public channels. These are the channels where anyone invited on the team can view and add messages. Private messages are also an option to communicate with team members one-to-one.
Whether you choose a public and private channel, the next step is deciding a channel name. This name will be something that describes the conversation and can be up to 21 characters in length. This name can include numbers and hyphens. The only rule is no two channels can be identical.
Step 4: Use Slack
You are finally ready to use Slack. Let’s now explore some basic conversation tools in Slack.
Send and Receive Messages: Sending and receiving messages is extremely simple. To send a message, simply type your text at the bottom of the screen and hit enter. Your message will then appear for everyone to see.
If you happen to notice a typo in your message, you can edit it just as easy. Tap the up-arrow key, and Slack will let you make changes to your recent message. For mobile users, tap and hold the message for a menu to appear, and you will be able to fix your typos as well.
Upload Files: You can upload PDFs, photos, or any documents up to 1GB in size to Slack by clicking the “+” icon found on the left side of your message box. You can also share your files by dragging and dropping items right into the channel you prefer.
To share files with your team members on Slack, you click on the more icon and choose Create Public Link, then click Share. From this page, you can share files to numerous locations. Anyone in that conversation can click and open the file.
You also have the option to revoke a public link by going to the Actions menu.
Organize: Slack allows you to customize your unread conversations by topics, projects, and more. When you enter a channel with activity Slack will give you the option to organize by:
- The newest message and mark the rest as read
- The most recent message and leave older messages marked as unread
- Right where you left off, allowing you to scroll through anything you missed
You can select one of these three options through the Team Menu, Preferences, and click the Mark as Read tab.