At Ainsley & Co., there are several tools we use to streamline project management processes, facilitate internal communication, and perform client work. Clients and friends frequently ask us what tools we use to get the job done, so we’re excited to introduce a new series: “Tools We Use.”
The Tool: Slack
What It Does: Slack is a team communication tool that gives us the ability to send messages to the entire office, teams within the office, or specific individuals. Messages can be related to a specific project or as simple as planning a lunch!
Why We Need It: It is easy to get swept away in a constant stream of checking and responding to emails, and often email messages can get lost in their seemingly endless threads. Through Slack, it is easier to communicate with a select group of people on a project through a real-time chat than it is to use email. Slack also makes it effortless to search for a specific message or previous conversation without having to weed through our Inbox.
Our Favorite Features:
Channels allow us to create groups, specific to certain projects, with the ability to add certain team members to different channels. Channels can be “Public” for the whole office to have access to, or “Private”. At Ainsley & Co., we have a general channel that allows our entire office to make announcements or ask questions about a project. We also have channels for our internal teams, so project-specific conversations don’t distract other office members from working.
Whether it’s a document, PDF, image, or spreadsheet, we find it helpful to be able to share our files through Slack. The search function makes it simple to find the documents later as well. Sometimes we just like to share gifs to give everyone a laugh during a long day.
Integration with Other Tools
Slack also allows us to use other apps within its app. By connecting all of the other tools we use, such as Twitter, Asana, and Giphy, we eliminate the hassle of constantly toggling between them. We can even set up our notifications from each app, so that they all come directly through Slack!
Slash commands are a great way to use shortcuts to quickly perform a function or quickly get to the information we want. By using the Slash (/) followed by a specific command, we can do things like:
- Set up Reminders: /Remind Me at [TIME] to [MESSAGE]
- Close a Channel: /Close
- Send a Message: /Msg User
- Search for Files: /Search
While it is nice to see when someone is messaging us, sometimes we need to eliminate distractions altogether. Slack allows us to customize our notification settings, set a “do not disturb” time period, and temporarily set our status as “away.”
It’s free! However, Slack does have an option to pay that offers more features.
Overall, Slack helps reduce the number of emails we receive and helps us be more productive on a daily basis.
While project management is important, it’s only the beginning of what we do at Ainsley & Co. Stay tuned for features on other tools we use to complete client work — from digital marketing to web development.
Graphics courtesy of Slack.