We’ve had so many clients ask how we stay connected as a remote team. How do we get work done? Share information? Isn’t it very hard to, well, accomplish anything when you’re all over the globe?
Luckily, coordinating as a remote team isn’t as impossible (or even as tricky) as some folks might think. Outside of our highly skilled team, the primary reason for this is an amazing tool called Slack. It’s our agency workhorse and the app we just couldn’t imagine doing work without.
Here are a few of the main ways we boost productivity, communication, and organization through what Slack has to offer:
If you were to log in to Slack using any of our credentials, the first thing you’d notice is a custom theme. We use Slack to re-enforce Range’s brand for every team member via our logo and Ranger palette.
The next thing you might notice is our organization. We create a new channel for each active client (old channels are archived) so all communication about that client is in one place. This makes it much easier for us to track internal progress on a project as well as quickly find and reference previous internal conversations.
If you stayed in any of these work channels for long, you’d soon notice that we’ve hooked a lot of things into Slack. Beanstalk notifications provide a consistent stream of “what’s been done” on the development front while incoming Teamwork messages pipe in notes from the client or our Project Manager.
Other integrations include:
- Helpscout: displays messages for product support, incoming business leads, and hosting support.
- Google docs: adds quick links to documents or spreadsheets we’re collaborating on together.
- Dropbox: adds in files that we store there.
- Email: adds flagged emails from our inbox to a corresponding project channel in Slack. This keeps everyone on the same page and ensures we can search through all communication within Slack.
- InVision: pipes in comments so all team members have access to design feedback and client questions (this leads to faster response times and iterations).
What’s great about these integrations is you rarely need to leave Slack to understand what’s being done and how things are going.
Outside of work channels, we have a just a few “other” channels. The most important of these is our general #rangers channel. This is home for all the good mornings, afternoons, life updates, and dog photos. It’s out water cooler channel where we have all the informal conversations you’d find happening near the coffee pot, by the door, or in the hallway.
Other Slack features, like the ability to add custom emojis, help facilitate casual conversations and keep team relationships strong (revisit why informal conversations are so good for teams in this post).
Communication is the most obvious way Slack serves our team yet I’m still amazed at how efficiently Slack replaces email. Sure, we all have team email accounts for clients that prefer to talk that way, but the only time (and I mean only time) I email a team member is to share an interesting promo or bit of news that just came in.
This is true for all other team members as well. If we need to chat real quick on the side, we use direct messages. But most of our conversation (77% according to our latest Slack stats) are in public channels. New team members have even noted that we collaborate more frequently and more efficiently than most in-office teams they’ve worked with!
Because we’re a fully distributed team (working from California to the Netherlands), we also use Slack to help us coordinate schedules, meetings, and find out what time it currently is “over there.”
We’ve integrated Google calendar with both our main channel and business channels so team meetings and business meetings pop up with reminders. We also use Slack and reactions to coordinate internal gatherings.
Slack even has this handy little feature where you can view someone else’s local time. This is especially useful when daylight’s saving throws off normal time differences or when we’re traveling outside our usual time zone.
So how does your team use Slack? Have you discovered any interesting integrations we should know about? Let us know!
Interested in our other processes? Have a custom project? Let us know over on the Contact page. We can’t wait to hear from you!