Getting our groove back with Slack - fun, functional communication


A day in the life of a BizDojo team member can involve anything from meeting with prospective partner organisations to teaching someone to use the coffee machine and everything in between. We’re designers, event planners, writers, consultants, sponsors, connectors, networkers, innovators and creators. We’re agile and versatile. And more often than not, like most people, we’re busy.

Being busy can be a great thing, but it’s common to become more stressed and less organised as we take on more work. The Dojo are firm believers in sharing the lessons and tools that help people unleash their potential, and one tool we’ve come to rely on for smooth communication and organisation is Slack.

If you’re not familiar, Slack is a platform for team communication. They describe themselves as being ‘on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive’ and as far as we’re concerned they are doing exactly this. Our business requires teams from a number of cities to work together on a range of projects, and we use Slack to discuss ideas, track progress, seek advice, share documents and really focus our communication through highly disciplined (read: not at all disciplined) use of custom emojis. You can choose whether to message a colleague privately, tag one or two people in a post on a topical channel or address whole teams at the same time.

One thing we really value about using Slack for internal communication is how much more tidy and manageable our email inboxes became once we started using it. Limiting team communication to a versatile and often less formal, more conversational, platform means we spend less time trawling through emails trying to determine what needs to be actioned and what doesn’t.

Other things we dig:
• The mobile app. It’s intuitive and helps us work when we’re off site.
• Like email, Slack has a search function so you can easily access old messages and conversations. 

• It’s great for making sure people aren’t bogged down with information not relevant to them because you can tag them in when the topic shifts.

• It’s easy to look back at what you missed if you’ve been on leave.

• Files can be uploaded into any private message, channel or group so everyone has access instantly.

What we use it for:
• Taking notes for daily WIPs so we can review progress.

• Sharing important motivational / irreverent GIFs and poorly photoshopped private jokes.

• Keeping relevant team members informed about projects or business developments specific to them.

• Any and all communication not urgent enough for a phone call and not formal enough for an email.

Slack has led to a huge improvement in the way we manage workflow and communication for a team who work across cities and are not often all sitting at their computers at the same time - and it has pretty much stopped any need for internal emails. It’s made us more organised and more likely to share knowledge and information. We recommend you give it a hoon if you’re looking to change the way your team communicates for the better.

Nik Jarvie-Waldrom was up until very recent BizDojo Wellington’s Community Manager. Follow her on Twitter @nikinajar.