For creatives to get their work out into the world, they need a way to get their designs from a computer or sketchpad and onto websites and products. That’s where Australian start-up Envato comes in; a global online marketplace for creative assets, tools and talent.
Tinkering away behind the scenes to make this happen are Envato’s employees, located across Australia and Mexico. Having launched in 2006, the company has been using Slack to power its communication and productivity since its early days.
It also relied on Slack when it transitioned to a remote-first set-up during the pandemic. And that was by design; Envato knew that Slack Channels—flexible spaces for all the people, tools and files needed to get work done, paired with Slack Integrations—the ability to integrate industry-leading software and custom apps right into Slack—would be essential in helping it establish a productivity platform that would help it continue to support customers and scale.
Establishing great cultures with capable leadership
Leadership can have very real impacts on a company’s success. In fact, PwC research has found that poor leadership is one of the three significant barriers to organisational progress.
Poor leadership and employee productivity are inextricably linked. For example, a Slack study of Australian knowledge workers found that when an employee’s leader is a poor communicator, they report having lower job satisfaction and higher rates of burnout.
It’s no wonder that Envato takes leadership and culture so seriously. To ensure its leaders are set up for success in a remote workplace, it has invested in leadership training to allow for accessible and transparent communications using Slack.
It’s all about being able to adapt, says Natalie Firth, Global People Experience and Talent Director at Envato. She leads a team that works out how to continually facilitate good communication and a strong team connection, which in turn will improve culture and productivity.
“Leaders need to be able to open up those lines of communication and make sure their team knows that they’re there for them, even if you’re physically working in different locations,” she says.
“As a remote-first company, we rely on Slack to help us communicate.”
We try to do all our work in Slack. As a team, it’s how we drive all our work forward.
Driving work forward asynchronously
Anyone who has ever worked with colleagues across multiple time zones will know how hard it can be to align employees and drive work forward.
Some companies fall into the trap of scheduling recurring meetings, resulting in meeting overload, but without any meaningful work getting done.
To avoid this unproductive reality, Envato has set up its team to work asynchronously — aided by Slack Channels that act as dedicated project spaces.
“We work asynchronously and Slack Channels have been essential for creating an asynchronous culture. For projects, our team can share updates in dedicated channels and pin important links or documents to the top,” says Firth.
“This creates transparency while ensuring everyone is across the latest.”
Slack Integrations have also been a boon for productivity, ensuring that all of Envato’s most-used apps can be accessed right in Slack. And this matters because 56% of knowledge workers spend 30 minutes per day reporting wasting time switching between apps.
“For example, we use Trello boards to track progress. We’ve integrated it into Slack, meaning everyone is across that Trello board.”
“Or, we use 15Five to conduct performance reviews. We don’t need manual reminders to conduct those reviews, we’ve automated the process on Slack.”
If I have a block of time with no meetings, I often turn on the Slack huddle and share a note so my team knows they can jump on and have a chat.
Avoiding meeting overload
“Remote working can also be very meeting-intense. But using Slack, we have been able to reduce unnecessary meetings, while still maintaining connection,” says Firth
So if something needs to be talked out, employees simply spin up a Slack Huddle—virtual spaces that let teams collaborate and co-create live. Firth also uses Slack Huddles to establish virtual office hours.
“If I have a block of time with no meetings, I often turn on the Slack huddle and share a note so my team knows they can jump on and have a chat,” she says.
Fostering safe and engaging remote cultures
Slack helps remote teams bring their whole selves to work. And as Firth has seen, engagement and productivity often follow suit.
“We try to do all our work in Slack. As a team, it’s how we drive all our work forward,” she says.
Rather than seeing disengaged remote workers, as commonly feared, organisations like Envato are noticing remote teams are often the most satisfied with the employee experience. In fact, in our 2022 research, fully remote workers reported the highest scores for overall work satisfaction, around double than those who work full-time in the office.
Envato uses Slack to leverage a collaborative and social remote culture. With Slack Channels, Envato’s employees have a meeting place to create social connections based on mutual interests. Here are some of their favourites:
- 📚Envato has a number of book club channels for its bookworm cohort. This includes
#booklovers, a more general meeting spot for reading and book appreciation, while
#engineering-bookclubbrings Evato’s engineers together to discuss relevant reading to their domain.
#dad-jokesis a space where everyone can share their best (and worst) dad jokes.
#game-tabletopis a channel for all things boardgames
#envato-runningis a space for Envato’s running fans.
One example of how Envato fosters connection is in a Slack Channel called
#learn-the-lingo, where the team celebrates culture, language and what makes us all unique. Using the Donut integration, Envato’s employees are paired up with those outside of their usual location and can get to know one another outside of their day-to-day work.
“We’re learning about each other’s cultures and different ways of working — it helps us feel connected to one another, even if we’re not working together day to day,” says Firth.
“Culture always comes back to communication and connection. If you don’t feel connected to what’s happening in the business and your colleagues, you won’t feel fulfilled or set up to do the best work you can.”
Scaling stronger communication for the future at Envato
“Slack is baked into our culture here at Envato, it’s part of our DNA.”
As effective communication and a strong collaborative culture continues to drive Envato forward, the productivity support found in Slack continues to be mission-critical.
Looking ahead, Envato plans to continue harnessing the integrative and productivity capabilities of Slack, empowering its remote-first employees across the globe.