All Work and No Play? Here’s How Slack Can Help
Whether we like it or not, remote work has transitioned from the exception to the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Needless to say, work-from-home (WFH) has been a difficult adjustment for many of us. It has disrupted work-life as we knew it and proved a serious hindrance to professional communication and collaboration.
So many of us miss spontaneous brainstorming sessions and caffeine breaks with light-hearted social interactions to counteract the demands of a hectic workday. Is this routine here to stay? Who knows. But one thing’s for sure: Slack can make this bumpy ride a whole lot of fun while it lasts. With over 10 million daily active users, Slack has quickly become the go-to communication platform for all things work-from-home (WFH).
Before the pandemic, it was all about the weekly lunches, office parties, and other team-building activities to fuel employee engagement and well-being. Now, Slack gives you the opportunity to try to replicate the same even as employees punch in and out of their living rooms.
Let’s look at some of the ways companies can make Slack more fun and engaging for their teams:
1. Start non-work, interest-based Slack channels
“Let’s not talk shop” – a phrase at the heart of all caffeine breaks at the workplace. These few moments we steal away to chill with our work friends are crucial. This is when we discuss our weekend road trips, book clubs, jam sessions, or the latest Netflix binge-watch. They provide a much-needed respite from an otherwise mundane day and allows us to get back to our workload refreshed.
While we juggle the various professional Slack channel – #businessdevelopment #marketing #research – why not add a few more – #whatsonnetflix #bungeejumping #gardening, and so on? You can also start a #random channel where employees can discuss anything and everything that doesn’t fit neatly into a box.
Appoint a channel admin, pin a post describing the purpose of the channel on top, introduce a few rules – such as an earnest request to not go off-topic and to strictly refrain from work-banter – and voila! Social channels can be a great way for employees to find folks who share their interests. Surely, this makes work more interesting, but more importantly, it fosters connections that are key to a productive and pleasant work environment.
2. Organize Ask Me Anything (#AMA) sessions
Ask me anything (AMA) is a weird and wonderful web format that took the internet by storm and we’re here for it. One thing every motivated workforce has is an engaged and approachable senior management team. AMAs are a fantastic way to bridge the gap between the management and employees, ensure the employees continue to feel valued, and keep things fun across professional hierarchies. Slack can help you get there.
Say goodbye to tedious town halls, awkward microphone glitches, and long waiting time for questions to come in. Just get your team to submit questions on Slack ahead of the next AMA! You can create a dedicated #AMA channel and ask employees to send in questions. Make sure you allow them the option to ask questions anonymously through apps like Slido or AnonymousBot in the spirit of inclusivity. Once all the questions have come in, you can take a poll and have the employees vote on the questions you want the senior management to answer.
Guidelines for questions can be pinned to the channel. A regular Slack AMA will make employees heard, allow them a chance to appreciate the more candid side of their leaders, and ensure employee satisfaction and retention.
3. GAMES, GAMES, GAMES!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. And it may get your team down too! So far, we have talked about strategies that combine both fun and learning to foster team building, but how about a bit of child-like delight? Slack offers a variety of games to get your team energized and engage in some healthy competition with their peers. For instance, tic-tac-toe puts a new spin on the old classic. Just type “/ttt @teammember” on a Slack channel or via personal message to challenge them.
Or better yet, try Bored, where you can pick from a range of quirky games guaranteed to provide your team the break they were looking for. Whether you’re chatting on a #random slack channel or looking for some fun during the next #AMA, Bored has everything to make these interactions just a little bit brighter through its treasure trove of memes, quizzes, and games.
You can try the ‘Icebreakers’ which has intriguing questions that will reveal a side of your coworkers you probably haven’t seen before. It’s the perfect activity for onboarding new employees. Break into laughter with ‘Roastmasters’— because nothing says team bonding like having some fun at the expense of others (within reason, of course), and ‘Who’s The Faker’ – a game of deception and lies, truly unpredictable stuff! Explore Bored today by heading the Slack directory.
4. Reward and recognize
Gone are the days when recognizing a team member’s efforts was just HR’s job. Part of building a positive work culture includes going all out in recognition of your peers’ achievements. Of course, you can give a shoutout or a “way to go” to your employees and peers on your Slack channel, but the Slack EngageWith integration takes you one step further by providing employee awards tools.
Not only does it allow you to appreciate the good work undertaken by your teammates, but it also provides you with the option of giving customizable awards to star employees. Regular positive feedback and appreciation are key to retaining employees, enhancing their motivation, driving innovation, and fostering a dedicated workforce.
5. Celebrate birthdays
BirthdayBot is a free Slack app that allows you to make your employees feel extra special on their special day. Not only does the app remind you of your employees’ birthdays but also comes up with special greetings and humorous GIFs you can share on your team's Slack channel to take a moment to bond, laugh and celebrate. Over 50,000 offices are using BirthdayBot to have a good time, why not join in the fun?