Being a fully remote team means that we rely heavily on the tools that can help us connect and communicate with each other from anywhere in the world. One of the main tools our team uses for communication is Slack, a tool that allows us to send quick chat messages with each other either in public or private channels or direct messages.
While we love and use Slack constantly, we also set firm boundaries with it. We do this because it can be easy to believe that being logged into Slack means that someone is “at work,” which isn’t how we view or use Slack. (Here’s more on our 10 Slack agreements.)
That being said, we also want to take full advantage of the opportunity that Slack presents for us to create deeper connections between teammates (some of whom have never met in person) and facilitate stronger communication as a team. This is why we’ve adopted several Slack bots that help us do just that! Here are the 6 that we use as a team and the 8 others that we haven’t used yet but are thinking about.
Before we dive in – do you know what Slack stands for? It’s an acronym! Take a few minutes to think it over and I’ll reveal the answer at the end of this post. ?
Slack Bots and Apps We Use At Buffer
Here are the Slack bots and apps we currently use on the Buffer team.
What would communication be without gifs? This is the perfect way for teammates to express how they’re feeling since we can’t jump up and down with happiness together all that often.
Giphy lets you search from the world’s largest library of animated GIFs, making it easy to find and share them on Slack.
We often use gifs during celebrations at Buffer to emphasize how we’re feeling.
HeyTaco quickly became a favorite at Buffer. It started out being used by only one team and was quickly adopted across our whole company. HeyTaco lets you recognize a teammate by giving them tacos when they accomplish something great! Then, that teammate can redeem their tacos for custom rewards.
HeyTaco is wonderful for helping our team spread recognition and excitement plus making sure that achievements don’t go unnoticed. Often times when one person gives another a taco, it’ll become a “taco train” with others jumping on board to add to the celebration.
To send someone a taco all you have to do is @-mention their name in Slack and add in the :taco: emoji. Each person is allowed to give out five tacos per day. ?
Slackbot already comes installed in Slack, so unlike the other apps we’ve mentioned, teams already have access to this one. There are so many ways to use Slackbot. Some popular ones include using it to find answers to questions about Slack, adding customized automatic responses and accessing personal reminders and tasks.
At Buffer, we’ve used the customized automatic responses to help share our values with the team regularly. So whenever anyone says the word “values” Slackbot pops up and shares one of our values with us. It’s sometimes amazing how pertinent the value that was shared is to the conversation!
TINYPulse is a feedback-based tool that encourages the whole team to provide input. This is a relatively new tool for us at Buffer but we’ve enjoyed having space where anyone on the Buffer team can share thoughts to a specific question, or offer anonymous suggestions to the executive team.
Possibly the most used app within all of Slack for us is Zoom. This is because we have a lot of video calls to replace in-person meetings. From any channel in Slack, you can start an instant meeting by entering the /zoom command.
To give an idea of how often this one is used, in 2019 we spent a total of 1,234,433 minutes on Zoom.
Slack Bots and Apps We Admire
There are so many great Slack bots and apps out there to help facilitate team bonding and help remote workers. In addition to the bots and apps that we’re currently using, here are a few others that we admire.
Allie is a Slack bot for inclusion at work. Team members can message for feedback, surveys, content, and training around diversity and inclusion.
Disco helps your team recognize one another’s contributions, big and small, and quantifies that feedback to keep your culture on track.
Donut helps pair up team members to get to know each other better. Donut can be set to pair new teammates together every one-to-four weeks.
Icebreakers helps your teams build strong relationships by answering questions.
Kona is an AI-powered bot for remote teams. It helps you understand your team’s communication and working styles. It analyzes the way your team communicates and gives you insights into how to best interact with coworkers.
Oskar the squirrel bot asks your teammates on Slack how they’re doing once a day. He is easy to satisfy but can be quite persistent if you don’t reply. That’s because he takes his job seriously (like all of his non-squirrel teammates) and wants to make sure that everyone on the team is OK.
Paperbot collects and organizes your most valuable content shared on Slack. It helps your team never miss another link again.
Polly the parrot bot shares surveys and polls with your team right in Slack when you have something to ask them.
Tettra is a knowledge management tool for teams, they make it easy for anyone to contribute knowledge that the whole team has access to.
Over to you
So what does Slack’s name mean? Slack stands for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge, which is very practical.
What Slack bots and apps do your team use and why do you love them? We’d love to hear in the comments!