Team messaging app Slack already had a strong fan base long before the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a fan base that’s only grown bigger and stronger, especially now that the coronavirus crisis has pushed many companies to set up their people to work in remote teams.
Slack being one of the most popular productivity apps available isn’t really surprising. We are fans of this app and use it regularly on the iPhone and also desktop. Slack is, in our opinion, the perfect iPhone app for remote teams. And we have five reasons to back this claim.
Communication is an essential part of teamwork. It establishes the team’s goals, builds the shared values, and enables smoother collaboration among teammates. However, communicating face to face is challenging when team members don’t share the same workspace or aren’t even in the same time zone.
As a messaging app, Slack keeps team members connected no matter where they are or what their time zone is. You can set up channels where you can discuss specific topics. Channels can be about fun stuff too, like a chat about your pets or your favorite video games.
There are different ways you can communicate on Slack. You can post messages or reactions on specific channels. If you need to chat with a particular teammate, you can shoot them a direct message. Or you can use video.
Another challenge that remote teams usually have is improving productivity among members. One way that Slack helps with increasing work productivity is by allowing integration with third-party apps. This means your team will waste less time switching from one app to another when working. Work can flow more easily and continuously.
Slack already works with dozens and dozens of third-party apps—including Zoom, Dropbox, Twitter, and apps developed by Google and Microsoft. You’ll find your integrated third-party apps stacked neatly on Slack’s left-hand panel. Using them takes only one click.
Setting up your own channels and integrating your favorite third-party apps are only two of the many ways you can customize Slack. You can also have fun with its appearance by choosing a pre-set color theme or creating your own. You can tweak how Slack notifies you of new posts or messages, as well as how to treat unread messages. Additionally, if you need increased accessibility, you can do things like setting up dark mode or keyboard shortcuts. You also have multiple options for using Slack—as a mobile app, a desktop app, or a web-based app.
Slack has an intuitive interface that even first-time users won’t find hard to navigate. You’ll find the menus, channels, and integrated apps on the left-side panel. The right-side panel is where you read messages for each channel. Each channel also has a subpanel that you can expand or collapse with one click. This subpanel tells you information about what the channel is about, who can access it, what files have been uploaded to it, the pinned messages, and others. Also, if you click the compose button beside your name, the right-side panel turns into a message composer. There you can type and edit your to the appropriate channel or send it as a direct message.
Slack is free to use. But if you want to unlock all its cool features, you can sign up for its paid plans. While these paid plans aren’t cheap, they are definitely worth the money. Each user in your team gets to have their own storage space for uploading files. You can search for all the messages in your account history, not just the last 10,000 in the free plan. You can integrate as many apps as you want. Most of all, you can set up two-factor verification for all users for added security.
Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, Yahoo! News and Influencive. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.