Create guidelines for channel names
Teamwork and communication in Slack happens in channels, where teams can discuss work and share messages, tools and files. When most conversations in Slack happen in public channels, members of your workspace can find the right information and gain the context that they need to get their best work done.
By creating Slack channels aligned with your company structure and using clear, predictable naming guidelines, you can ensure that your workspace is organised and easy to navigate. This will help people ask questions in the right place, find information quickly and work efficiently.
Best practices for creating channels
- Start with broad channels and get more specific over time
- Create standard channel prefixes so that anyone can find the right channel easily
- Encourage the use of public channels
Establish channel structure
Start with broad channels
Setting up your workspace using categories that your team already knows will help your members become orientated when they join Slack. Add new channels named for major topics that most members are already familiar with:
- Departments (e.g. #design, #marketing, #finance)
- Office locations (e.g. #san-francisco, #paris, #tokyo)
- Company-wide announcements (e.g. #announcements-global, #announce-engineering)
Build and expand
As your workspace grows and more people start using Slack, the need for more specific channels will arise. If you start small, you can add new channels as conversations start to branch off organically.
For example, when there are conversations about distinct subjects taking place in your #sales channel, add new channels like #sales-training to plan for new starters, #sales-leads to track contacts and so on!
Tip: Add a channel topic and purpose to let people know what each channel is used for.
Create channel prefixes
We recommend using a set of standard prefixes to keep channel names consistent and descriptive. Here are some of our favourites:
|help-||To ask questions or find information from other teams or departments.
Examples: #help-benefits, #help-finance, #help-it
|team-||For teams to coordinate work and activities.
Examples: #team-design, #team-support, #team-sales
For cross-functional teams working together.
Examples: #proj-redesign, #proj-office-move, #proj-expense-reports
|triage-||To triage issues or tasks in a streamlined manner.
Examples: #triage-sales, #triage-help-centre, #triage-website
|event-||To plan and execute events – large and small.
Examples: #event-board-mtg, #event-company-picnic, #event-hr-offsite
Note: Prefixes can help organise your channel list if your sidebar is set to sort alphabetically.
Document and share your guidelines
Once you've tailored your channel creation process, it's time to share it! This will help encourage consistency and efficiency amongst your members.
Create a Slack post and share your guidelines in a public announcements channel that all members can access. We also recommend you:
- Pin the file in appropriate channels for easy reference.
- Include it with new hire onboarding materials so that it's easy for new members to navigate your workspace.
- Grant editing access to fellow admins and others helping administrate Slack so that they can add new prefixes and guidelines.
Manage existing channels
Work is dynamic, and sometimes priorities shift. Maybe a project is renamed, shelved for another day or cancelled entirely. Here's how to keep your channels organised when things change:
- Rename a channel to something more appropriate.
- Archive a channel to remove it from the list of active channels.
- Delete a channel to remove it and all of its contents from your workspace.
Tip: Threads let you respond directly to a message in a channel and keep all replies, images and files organised in a single conversation. They can help members of a channel have multiple conversations at once without distracting others.
Channels are where a majority of work happens in Slack, and consistency will go a long way in keeping your workspace organised. Here are some additional tips to keep on hand as your workspace continues to grow:
- Set default channels for new members so that they can access the most important information in your workspace from day one.
- If you're on a paid subscription, you can create user groups and set different default channels for each one.
- Let members know that they can star specific channels to keep those conversations above the fold in their app sidebar.