Slack - Group communications

Axelerant has a remote work culture, and we are a distributed team. Being working in a half-dozen time zones, we place a high priority on asynchronous communications. 

Asynchronous communication becomes more critical for distributed teams. Asynchronous means not everyone needs to be online simultaneously to have work continue or to have a meeting. 

To make communication smooth and practical, we use a tool called Slack. Our team can chat throughout the day using various channels to organize conversations.

Slack is where we kick off calls with teammates, have conversations as a company and within groups, experiment with team building, and much more. We also use Slack asynchronously by leaving messages whenever people can respond when relevant to them.

Learn more about Axelerant’s

What is Slack used for?

  • We DO want to use Slack to communicate effectively and have fun as a team.

  • We DON’T want teammates to constantly monitor Slack after work hours or get pinged at any hour of the day or night.

Slack is the right place for:

  • Social conversations, exciting links, chit-chat

  • Questions/requests that need a faster/same-day response

  • Real-time discussions with those in your timezone and async discussions with those outside your timezone

  • Sharing some quick praise, Buffer love, gratitude, achievements

  • Passing along non-urgent need-to-knows (often prefaced by NRN, or “No reply necessary”)

Slack is not the best place for:

You’re responsible for managing your downtime.

It’s important that people can talk to each other even when the recipient is not around. If we’re each responsible for our own downtime (E.g., setting yourself up on Do Not Disturb when you’re offline, not working, or in-the-zone; controlling notifications on your phone if you choose to install Slack there), we give the rest of the team full freedom to communicate as they like. You’re responsible for dealing.

Note: Mark unread, star, or click “remind me” for any items you need to take action on so you don’t forget!

Use status and profile to communicate the availability

Share your status to let folks know when you’re out sick, on vacation, or in a focus period. Also, Slack profiles include lots of great information like time zones and office hours. Ensure yours is filled out to help folks understand how best to communicate with you and check others as you work with them.

Display Picture for Slack

We recommend adding your photo as a display on Slack as it helps build a stronger connection with your colleagues and adds a human touch to our remote interactions.

  • Use a recent photo of yourself, which is a truthful representation of you.

  • To maintain a professional and authentic environment, kindly avoid using logos, animated images, animals, memes, avatars, other digital imagery, etc., as your profile photo.

  • Keep it simple.

Be deliberate about your notifications.

We recommend keeping Slack’s recommended notification settings: only direct messages, @you, and highlight words. These settings eliminate worry about missing important messages without your phone or computer going off all day with less important conversations.

Too many channel notifications

Use the /mute option within a channel to only receive notifications in which your username or another desired keyword is mentioned for that channel.

Directing others within threads

  • Use ^ to indicate; look just above.

  • Use ^^ to indicate; look at the beginning of the thread

  • Use @name to target people for a response

  • Use #channel to reference a channel

Get away from Slack when you need to focus

Which doesn’t necessarily mean quitting it. You can set yourself away, activate Do Not Disturb, or set your status to a focus mode when you want to focus on something without interruption.

Don’t constantly check chat messages.

Having unread messages on Slack doesn’t mean you have to read them immediately! Let people get on with their work while you get on with yours. Save message-checking for when you are out of your focus zone.

@channel or @here?

Including @channel in a message will notify everyone in the chat room. Using @here will only notify the people who are online at that moment.

For non-urgent announcements, @here is always best.

Use @channel for emergencies only — it sends push and email notifications to everyone, including people who may be offline or on vacation.

Alternately, use the relevant `@cs-team`, `@sales-team`, `@team-engg-mgmt`, or another group alias to notify the desired people.

Creating new channels

Create channels using a naming convention like the following. And don’t forget to invite relevant people.

  • opp-TBD for opportunities

  • event-TBD for events

Not interested in a channel?

/leave it.

Recognize others

When people do well, recognize them, which makes them feel good for themselves and you. Use /recognize to open a helpful dialog box.