A photo illustration by Slack to accompany piece on remote work

7 steps to launch Slack when you’re remote

A guide for anyone tasked with rolling out Slack at their organization

Even when you need to move fast, you can still launch Slack successfully. This guide will help you roll out Slack quickly and effectively to your organization.

 

 

Tip: Before we begin, create a Slack channel (call it #proj-slack) with these folks to manage the project all in one place.

1. Give everyone access to your digital workspace

The first step is to make sure everyone who needs Slack will have access to it. You might start with a single department, or go with the whole company.

  • First, invite new members.
  • Then, set up SSO and other administrative settings for your team.
  • Create user groups for different departments, such as @sales-team or @it-team.

2. Create your first channels and support your employees as they get started

Good communication means that all employees know you’ll be using Slack. It also ensures they not only know how to use it, but that they want to.

Start with an announcements channel

  • To share an announcement with the whole company, first rename the #general channel to #announcements-company. This channel is where you’ll share important communications with everyone.
  • When you send a message to @channel in your new announcements channel, you’ll also notify by email anyone who hasn’t yet accepted their Slack invite. Tagging @channel ensures everyone sees your most important messages—but use sparingly!
  • You can restrict posting for your #announcements-company channel to important updates only from internal comms teams and leadership.
  • Kick off the #announcements-company channel with a note from your Sponsor. Here’s an example of a welcome message that you can use:

Hi @channel, I hope you’re all doing well. We’re all handling a lot of change and uncertainty right now, and I assure you we’re working hard to make the right decisions for everyone. It’s our top priority to keep you informed and support you working safely and seamlessly from home where possible.

So today is the day Slack officially becomes our digital workspace—welcome!

We’re investing in Slack because how we work together is critical to our success, and we want to provide the best tools available. Slack is a central hub where we can work together, share files, and connect with tools. It will make cross-functional collaboration dramatically easier, and strengthen our culture and team engagement.

Some tips to get started:

  • Channels are like rooms to bring folks together in departments, teams, projects, and shared interests.
  • Look out for key updates in this channel.
  • Find support in relevant #help channels, like #help-people
  • Share what’s working for you in #remote-tips

We’re committed to staying close to new developments and adjusting our approach as needed. In the meantime, we’ll be shutting down other messaging tools, so everyone is available in one place.

Finally, support one another, and take care of yourselves and your families during this time. We’re in this together. See you in channel! ✊

Until everyone is on Slack, it’s a good idea to have your Sponsor also send this communication through email. You can also include steps for users on how to log in and get help if they’re having trouble. For example:

To join us all on Slack:

  1. Download the Slack apps for desktop and mobile.
  2. To log in, find the email invite you received or steps from IT.
  3. Check out Slack’s 101 guides. You can start by browsing and joining channels in Slack. Join your department, team and location channels first.

 

3. Create channels for work

Default to using channels instead of direct messaging (DMs), preferably public channels where you can. Using public channels means important information can be found by the right people, team conversation can become shared knowledge, and everyone can learn from the context of past decisions.

 

4. Create social channels to stay more connected

 

5. Connect Slack to your other tools

Slack connects with other tools your organization and teams use to bring everything together in one place—providing a better experience for users and driving more value from your existing investments. Check the App Directory to connect the tools you use.

While you can always expand your connections over time, here’s how to build a foundation:

  • First, connect with your core productivity tools for files, calls, email, and calendar, like OneDrive, Zoom, Outlook, and Gmail.

 

 

  • Next, decide on a few key department tools to connect with, like ServiceNow for IT, PagerDuty for engineers, Salesforce for sales, Marketo for marketers, or Envoy for facilities teams. Here are a few top apps to help manage remote work.

 

 

6. Work with customers, partners and vendors in shared channels

A shared channel works just like a normal Slack channel, but it connects two organizations. This means a team from your company can communicate with Company B—for example, a customer or vendor—in the same channel.

  • Talk to your teams who work closely with external partners, like sales, business relations, buyers, vendor managers, contractors, and find out if they’d like to move their email conversation to Slack. Find a few groups to get started first.
  • Let the either company know you’re interested, and send an invitation for a shared channel.

7. More tips and best practices for working remotely in Slack

The above steps give you the foundation to be successful in Slack, which you can build on to do many more fun and interesting things. Here are a few final tips to get going:

  • Send a daily update of what you’re working on in team channels, and ask folks to do the same. The /remind command can automate a reminder for everyone to do this at the same time each day, like a virtual stand-up.
  • Organize virtual team coffees or happy hours. Install the Donut App so teams can sign up for randomized “coffee chat” pairings.
  • Use Slack calls and screen sharing, when a quick conversation would help move things along faster. Or use a command like /zoom to start a meeting in Slack.
  • Many teams are finding value in more frequent, shorter meetings in lieu of face to-face time, on video platforms like Zoom. Folks also need more flexibility on when they’re available, so be sure to record important meetings and post the recording in channel.
  • In large meetings, use a channel for discussion, to allow more people to participate in the conversation.
  • Keep pulse with your team, using Workflow Builder to collect team feedback.
  • Even when you can’t be face to face, use shared channels to continue building relationships with important partners, customers and vendors.
  • Finally, don’t forget to get up and stretch when you need to!

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