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Remote Work Series: Reasons Why Slack is an Effective Tool

Remote work is not a new concept. Slack is one of the most popular tools used to make communication easier even as employees are working at home. Learn more.

Technology has opened up all sorts of opportunities for everyone all over the globe. It gave the world the gift of accessible information, better long-distance connection, and many more. Technology has also opened up the possibility for work from home opportunities for professionals from different industries.

In the light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, work is suspended, and people are asked to stay at home to prevent spreading the virus further. The option for remote work is now more important than ever. A lot of companies have made this work option available to their staff in efforts to keep each of their employees safe while still keeping their business operational.

Remote Work: An Opportunity and a Challenge

The chance to work in the comforts of your own home is definitely a fantastic opportunity that allows you to avoid the everyday hassle of waking up very early and fighting your way through traffic. And in this case, you also get to make sure that you stay safe from the coronavirus disease that is threatening the whole world.

Despite being an amazing option for professionals, it is also a challenging situation to be in. You may be able to avoid the physical stress of the outside world, but there are many things you would have to figure out or get used to when you work from home. For example, how do you stay connected with your team, and how do you let them know what you are working on? If your company is not made for working remotely, then you and your team may not be sure where to start and what to prioritise.

Communication plays a vital role in a physical office, and even more so in a virtual one. This is the reason why it should definitely be one of your top priorities. Remote work is not a new concept, it has been around for quite a while, and Slack is one of the most popular platforms where companies can communicate with their work-from-home team with ease.

Why Slack is a Remote Work Communication Hack

Slack is one of the most popular choices when it comes to communication platforms for teams that are working remotely. If your company is making a shift from a physical office to a virtual office, here are the reasons why you should choose Slack:

1. Slack allows anyone to work from anywhere.

Slack is an effective communication platform. It has many features that allow teams to be effective, organised, safe and secure. Of course, you and your team need to have a uniform understanding of Slack's features; otherwise, it can get messy.

For example, Slack allows you to create "channels" which is like a group chat in Facebook Messenger-- but more professional. Your whole team should know what they are allowed to share in each channel and when they need to share said information. If you have a #project-dog channel, the whole team should understand that they are not supposed to post cat pictures or deer facts on that page.

2. Slack makes it easier for you to set the team up for success.

The three main points you want to focus on when working at home is staying productive, being visible to your team, and maintaining a healthy amount of interaction with each member of the group. Slack helps you tick all these boxes through its app and features.

3. Slack makes it easier to keep the team productive.

People who have been working in a physical office for a long time will find it hard to adjust to a virtual office. For example, some members of the team may be used to brainstorming in the office, or the manager has the habit of physically checking each member's progress in their tasks. Working in a virtual office does not mean that the team can no longer do these things. In Slack, you can use channels or the space in Slack where you can message the team working on a specific project, a whole department or even the entire company to provide updates, share files, receive organisation-wide announcements and many more.

How Does Slack Enforce Productivity?

  • Slack makes each member, teams and other departments accessible to everyone.

You can create a channel for pretty much anything. For example, you can create separate channels for different departments in the company (e.g. #IT-dept, #finance-team, #design-dept, #HR-dept etc.). You can also create separate channels for various projects and clients-- this is where they can share ideas, updates and questions about the related projects or clients. If you want your team to have a free space to just interact, you can create a channel for general topics. You may not be able to march into the HR office to raise your concerns, but you can definitely drop by the #HR-dept channel to ask your question. Due to the flexibility of the amount of transparency that Slack provides, requests and urgent matters can be addressed efficiently.

  • Slack makes output submissions and approval easier.

Slack's channel feature allows you and your team to make output submissions quick and easy. You can send your reports to your boss with a click of your finger. Your managers can also quickly give you feedback through the platform. Generally, Slack and its channels are a great way to keep people informed of progress without having to devote a huge chunk of your time to meetings.

4. Slack allows you and your members to be more visible.

You may think that being visible in a physical office is hard as it is and that moving to a virtual office is going to make that even more difficult. But you are wrong. Your office does not have to be physical so that it can bear meaning and engagement.

You will stay visible to your team members if you effectively send updates in the relevant channels and message the right people at the right time. You can even engage in video calls or voice calls for things that are hard to discuss through chats. Calls do not have to be formal meetings-- it can be a 5-minute video chat discussing things you cannot express in writing.

Slack also has a status updates feature where you can communicate your availability. For example, if you are on break, you can set that as your status, so your workmates know that you are taking a break.

5. Creating stronger connections.

In a physical office setting, the walls of the company building may be intimidating to some members. It feels more like a divider for each department. It is harder to communicate with people when you feel like you are not close enough, even in a professional setting. A work from home setup brings those walls down because everyone, including your clients, is just one chat away. But of course, each member of the team should still follow a protocol when it comes to communicating to people outside their department or project.

Slack makes discussions easier than ever. All you need to do is to pay attention and participate in announcement channels, discussion channels and any other channels where you are personally involved.

6. Slack allows you to assess your apps and integrations.

Even in the traditional physical office settings, employees use a wide range of apps for work. They need to log into a system for getting data, open another one to input their findings, they need another app running for making their reports and another one for creating a presentation.

Making sure that each employee of the company has seamless access to the apps that they use the most is one of Slack's strengths. You can use a lot of apps without leaving the Slack platform.

Slack allows you to integrate other apps with it, including Zoom video conferencing, Google Drive, Asana and many more. Slack comes with Slackbot, a smart bot that can be programmed with automatic prompts (Example: "What are you working on today?" ) and other pop-ups.

7. Slack is safe and secure.

In a company's perspective, one of the benefits of working in a physical office is that all the files their staff uses are in company property, every meeting they have stays within the four walls of their building, etc. Simply put, all data and information are secured.

Surely, companies want (at least) the same level of security when they switch to a virtual office. They want to make sure that all the company data is safe while their employees work from home. Some companies are not big enough to own VPN (Virtual Private Network), but that's okay. Slack will encrypt all of the data for you.

Final Thoughts

Remote work does not have to be isolating or stressful. Platforms like Slack exist to help companies and their employees stay connected and communicate effectively even if some or all of the staff is working in the comforts of their own home. Slack is popular amongst remote workers and their employees for several good reasons. The virtual office will take a bit of getting used to, but it's an adjustment worth making especially at a trying time for the whole world such as this one.

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