During the 2016-2017 academic year, the ASUW made the official switch to Slack as an internal form of communication between employees. This guide is meant to ease your transition into Slack. Please read through this entire guide as you begin your transition into your job. If after reading this you need any additional help, please get in touch with the OCOMM director or webmasters.
What is Slack?
Slack is an internal communications software that provides an opportunity for innovative communication and collaboration. Slack is a platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go. Note- While Slack works on desktop and mobile platform, you are not expected to be constantly on and responding to messages. It is the expectation that you are responsive on Slack while on available office hours (that is, not in meetings), but any messages sent and received outside those hours are not expected to be read and responded until your next available office hours.
Employees will still be expected to stay up to date with and respond to email. Slack is meant to be an internal communications software, especially for the short messages and announcements sent between employees and advisors for meeting cancellations, event reminders, file sharing, etc. The reality is, it is just much easier and faster to send and receive these kinds of messages via Slack. Employees will still be using email as the primary method of communication with their external constituents.
Interns, volunteers, and non-paid ASUW employees will be incorporated into our Slack channel as single-channel members should the entities they report to wish to do so. To create a channel between you and your interns, click on the ‘Submit a request for a new Slack channel’ button above.
We saw a lot of room for improving the efficiency and accountability of ASUW employee communications. In particular, Slack allows for the replacement of Facebook and other external, non-professional forms of communication between employees for work-related matters while in compliance with OPMA.
How it works.
Your ASUW work email will already be registered on Slack and added to the ASUW-wide Slack account. To access this account, please visit asuwseattle.slack.com.
Action Required. You will most likely find last year’s employee’s information on the account. Please update this with your information. We have asked all ASUW Slack users to set up their full profiles on Slack with the following information:
- ASUW email
- First and last name
- ASUW job title
- Profile photo of yourself
Please also change the account username to reflect your name. The format to follow for this it ‘entityname_firstname’. For example, ‘ocomm_ana’ or ‘wac_erin’. For entities with multiple employees, such as Rainy Dawg or A&E or the Board of Directors, the entity name must be the same. For instance, all A&E employees should have ‘ae_’ at the beginning of their username.
Communication on Slack is organized into 3 methods of communications: public channels, private channels, and direct messages. Channels are the primary streams of communication. Think of them as topics, projects, or in our case, entities.
- Open to anyone within the Slack group to join or view messages
- Our ASUW public channels and what to post in them:
- #general– administrative reminders, announcements and notes about mandatory job requirements (example: “A reminder to all employees that quarter reports or employee evaluations are due this Friday”)
- #random– notes about supplies, cleanings and food, non-ASUW events that employees are involved with, and any other non-work related posts (example: “Happy birthday X” or “Leftover pizza in HUB 121!” or “Hi all, you should check out the TedX conference this Saturday”)
- #events– reserved for event related needs and asks from the ASUW organization and ASUW-sponsored event announcements (example: “Hi all, tomorrow La Raza will be hosting an event in HUB 240 regarding…, or “@channel please invite all of your friends to A&E’s next event [insert facebook event link]”)
- #sao– updates on behalf of the SAO office or advisers to ASUW employees
- #updatesfromolympia: OGR lobbying updates to all ASUW employees via this channel to report on progress being made on our lobbying efforts
- #techupdates: OCOMM Webmasters and Systems Admin. send out updates to all ASUW employees pertaining to tech issues and Slack administration that are relevant to all employees (example: site down, security certificates, printer fixed, etc)
- Exclusive channels
- Function the same as public channels, but the content is only visible to those included by the admin
- Only the Communications Director and webmasters can create channels for the ASUW-wide Slack account
- Communication between 2 to 8 members that only they can see
- Kind of like an email or instant message with no cc or bcc option
Slack has a ton of features to facilitate communication, information sharing, and project management. Here’s a few of the most relevant for us:
- @mention. Most social media platforms allow you to mention (or tag) someone in a post or photo. Within a Slack channel you can mention a specific team member (@individual), the entire channel (@channel), or the whole team associated with a particular Slack account (@everyone). Using the @mention feature will specifically ping the applicable user via their personal notification settings (via email, mobile, or desktop).
- Bots. Slack has several “Bots” that can be programmed to perform specific tasks. We have an Office Hours Bot with which can provide you with employees’ hours without having to access the hours website, here’s how:
- Start a new direct message conversation with the Office Hours Bot (@officehours)
- Type the word ‘hours’ followed by the name of the employee you want to see hours for (example: hours mahir). Or, you can message the bot with ‘help’ to see all the possible commands.
- Star & reactions. Slack allows you to “star” comments to mark something important to reference later. Just like hashtags, stars are integrated with the search function. Reactions are a way to show support, agreement, or anything you want to a message. Other channel members will be able to see your reactions. These function much like a ‘like’ on Facebook, or a ‘favorite’ on twitter.
- Upload. If you can attach it to an email, you can upload it to Slack. Graphics, images, spreadsheets, documents, etc. With dozens of app integrations you can even link Slack to your Google Drive or Dropbox folders for easy sharing and file management.
- Click the + icon on the left hand side of the message box
- Drag and drop your file into a channel to send
- Links. Whether sharing a resource, requesting feedback, or looking at a preview of a new website, you can post a link and Slack will load a preview (just like Facebook).
- Search. Data is only useful if you can find it. The same goes for communication. Looking for a file? Trying to remember what Bob said about that one proposal? Pop some simple terms in the native search bar at the top and the answers are at your fingertips.
- Archive. All projects eventually come to an end. Slack enables users to archive channels and private groups. This allows teams to keep communication clear of clutter while still having the content available for later reference.
- Cloud. Ever spilled coffee on your laptop? How about dropped your iPhone in the toilet? Or lost your iPad at the airport? No worries. Everything in Slack sits safely and securely in the cloud. You can access it from any platform or web browser.
- Remind yourself. You can have Slack mark messages as “Unread” or even have Slack remind you of the message by sending you the notification once again after a certain time period.
- Hover over the message and click “Show message options” in the top right corner of the message you’d like to mark
- Notification preferences. Under “Preferences” you can opt for desktop, mobile push, or email notifications!
- Customize notifications for channels
- Do Not Disturb mode to snooze Slack notifications!