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How Slack Can Help A/E/C Firms Work Remotely

Many professional service firms are unused to working remotely. Finding a quick, simple way to help your people do just that can be extremely helpful right now. Although I do not usually pitch software, my firm has found Slack so useful, especially in the past few weeks, that I want to share the benefits in hopes that you will find it beneficial, as well. Read on for a quick overview of how Slack can help your firm work remotely.

Messaging

The most basic functionality of Slack is messaging. Like texting, it allows you to “direct message” with people in your organization (or anyone on Slack that you add). This lets you have immediate “conversations” with people, one-on-one or in groups.

 

In the screen above, I show the typical Slack window with a thread in the “general” channel of the new SMPS Boston workspace. Note the SMPS logo in the upper-left, and the Clockwork gear above that. This allows me to quickly switch between these two workspaces.

Channels

Slack lets you create “Channels” that can be organized by team, project, topic, or whatever else is relevant to you. Team members can join and leave channels as needed. Channels can be made public (so any team member can join and participate) or private (so you must be invited to join). There are lots of cool features that can be done using Channels, but the basics are all you really need to get started.

In the SMPS Boston example above, you’ll see there are channels for event-planning, career-advice, good-reads, upcoming-events, and more. In my Clockwork Slack, a popular channel is called “funny” where we can just share things that crack us up (which can be a nice relief during stressful times.)

Video Calling

When you are working from home, isolated, morale can drop quickly. The importance of interacting with another human “face-to-face” suddenly takes on new meaning. Slack lets you do just that, and it’s all integrated right into the platform, super-simple. You can click the phone icon and video-chat with one person or, (on the paid plan), chat with everyone within a Channel. A five-minute video call can often resolve a question that might take hours in an email back-and-forth. We find that having a group video call at a set time each morning, and as a quick wrap-up end of day, helps us all stay connected and on track. Using the “stand up” method, where each team member gives a quick synopsis of what they aim to accomplish that day, is also a great use of the video calling feature.

I just like seeing my team’s faces and hearing everyone’s voices, it really makes a huge difference!

Screen-Sharing

If you are collaborating on a project and need to review documents, plans, photos, websites, or really anything online, together, you can click the screen share icon and your colleagues will be able to see whatever is on your monitor screen. At our studio, we use this regularly to brainstorm design ideas and work through UI/UX solutions.

Collaboration

Staying connected with your team and bouncing ideas off one another is hugely important. Slack has helped us stay virtually close while we physically social distance. To start, click here join the SMPS Boston members on Slack today. Follow instructions to set up your profile. If you have questions, contact Director of Communications, Sabrina Bauer.

Then, consider bringing Slack to your own firm as a way to help everyone work together, remotely.

 

Further Reading:

Slack 101

Top 5 tips for getting started in Slack

Slack Basics

Vanessa Schaefer

Author

Vanessa Schaefer, the President & Creative Director of Clockwork Design Group, has over twenty years of experience helping A/E/C and other professional service firms create websites, printed materials, impactful proposals, and strong corporate brands.

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