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My 9 Favourite Slack Add-ons for Remote Working

After a few weeks of forced lockdown, most businesses will have at least heard of Slack by now. It’s one of the most effective communication tools for running a team remotely.


If you somehow run a remote team and haven’t yet heard of Slack, I encourage you to check them out and give their free plan a go.


For those familiar with the app but who haven’t yet discovered some of the many extras offered by way of the add-ons and integrations with other software products, this guide should come in handy.


So, without further ado, here are some of my favourite Slack add-ons which have helped me scale up my business and team since the inception of Videoprawn.



Simple Poll



SimplePoll is a really handy little app which helps you and your team to make joint decisions.


When working remotely and unable to meet in person, making important team decisions can be less than easy, especially with the inherently chaotic nature of Zoom calls.


Using the Simple Poll add-on you can not only put out questions and suggestions for your team to feedback on, but you can also make anonymous polls.


Anonymising feedback to certain questions really helps democratise decisions which may otherwise be influenced or skewed by seniority or particular personalities within the team.


It’s a feature I’ve found exceptionally useful when making crucial decisions for the improvement of our internal processes at Videoprawn.



Pocket



In order for this add-on to work, you will first need to have a Pocket account, and I’d encourage you to download the Chrome add-on if using Chrome as your default browser.


Pocket allows you to instantly save articles and webpages for later reading.


It’s perfect for the times when you’re busy but you stumble upon something interesting or useful which you want to come back to later, but without keeping it open as (yet another) tab.


The Slack add-on allows you to save any articles or links shared by your team instantly to your pocket. So, even in the midst of working chaos you know you can store a library of useful reads to tackle on your tablet on the sofa later.



AnyDo


AnyDo is the perfect companion for those of us with too much to carry in our own heads. It’s like a memory extension - and if your memory is anything like mine, it could really use an extension.


It can set reminders and assign tasks to other members of your team automatically - incredibly useful for saving time and making sure certain things aren’t missed or forgotten about.


It also has the handy option of giving you a run-down of your tasks for the day, so as soon as you wake up or grab your morning coffee, you know exactly what’s coming up, with no surprise appointments or jobs which you forgot to note down.



Giphy


Never underestimate the importance of a good GIF response. In these times of remote communication, we need to use every tool at our disposal to make sure our message is received loud and clear. And sometimes this can only be achieved with a GIF.


Which is why Giphy might be our most essential Slack add-on.


Without it we would be unable to supplement our messages with cats jumping at cucumbers, seals clapping in agreement, and the all-important Fresh Prince Carlton dance.



Donut



When running a team remotely, you miss out on water cooler conversations, which might not seem a huge loss on the face of it, but sometimes the big ‘Aha’ moments can happen as a result of these chance chats.


And even if it isn’t big breakthroughs that are getting missed out on, important socialising and team bonding take a hit when teams are distributed.


Donut is a fab little app which gives teams an excuse to hang out for a coffee, tea, (or donut?) - whatever their choice of break-time refreshment happens to be.


The add-on automatically pairs two (or sometimes more) people from a Slack channel, looks at the free slots in their calendars and schedules them for a 15 minute video call to have a nice break and a chat together.


It’s a great way to cajole people who may not have much interaction usually into building relationships with each other. This type of algorithmically-induced hangout is invaluable when trying to maintain a social culture remotely.



Marker



At Videoprawn, we’re always using screenshots as a quick way to illustrate our points and ideas to other team members and clients. As they say, a picture says a thousand words, and in our case, it saves a thousand hours of back-and-forth via Slack.


The Marker app allows you to capture and annotate screenshots really efficiently, and shares them directly to Slack.


When there are minute details being discussed on any type of visual content, this tool is unbelievably useful and gets everyone involved on the same page much faster than trying to describe things with just words.



Google Calendar



This add-on is fairly self-explanatory and will be of less use to those embedded in the Microsoft suite than Google, however it’s one of the essential apps used by the Videoprawn team.


Not only does it allow you to easily add events to your calendar from inside Slack, but it gives you a useful start-of-the-day briefing of any upcoming calendar events for the day.


You also get a little nudge just before an event takes place, meaning fewer missed or late appearances at those all-important zoom calls.



Rock, Paper, Scissors



Although we’ve already mentioned Simple Poll as a tool for making important group decisions, sometimes you need a more sophisticated tool to enable the very most important decisions for your organisation.


In these rare cases, such a solution can be found in the Rock, Paper, Scissors add-on for Slack.


You simply select one of the three options, allow your business partner / team member / mortal enemy to choose theirs, and the algorithm decides whose choice wins. Simple.



Zoom



This add-on is super useful, especially for those using Slack on mobile. The reason for this is that Slack currently doesn’t offer video calling though its mobile apps, only on the desktop version. Which is a bit of a pain really, as the rest of the mobile app is reasonably sophisticated.


Using the Zoom add-on though, you can instantly set up a video call directly through Slack - however you will need the Zoom app installed on your device first.


This app really is perfect for the times when the text conversations between multiple people are getting confusing and disjointed. This is prone to happen at Videoprawn with various editors discussing a variety of client feedback, and it’s always much more easily sorted with a quick video call.





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