Slack is the industry leader in business communication. It combines elements of email and traditional chat apps with third party integrations to become your main “Hub” for work.
All communication, including in Slack, should follow the principles laid out in our
We try to use email as little as possible and use Slack for all ongoing regular communication.
✅ Internal company communication outside of a project.
✅ Project communication that does not need to be a part of “the record” or visible to future participants in the project
✅ Daily client communication when the client is a Slack organization
✅ Communication with vendors, freelancers, partners, etc.
Don’t Use For...
⛔️ Sharing long documents (Use Notion or Google Docs)
⛔️ Emergency communication (Use texting/phone calls)
⛔️ Keeping track of task statuses (Use Asana)
Why we use it
In a business context there is always a tension between having an “all in one” toolkit and having lots of separate tools which are all tailor-made to be ideal for specific things. We have chosen the route of using lots of different tools. Slack is key in that it integrates with most of those tools, and replaces email as a primary communication channel, so Slack is the “heart” of your Cantilever work day.
How we use it
We have an asynchronous communication style at Cantilever, so we have specific recommendations about how to use Slack that may be different from other teams. Slack's native settings encourage a "ping-heavy" user experience, which is not in line with our recommended communication or effective work style.
Ryan’s Walkthrough Video
- Do not have notifications on in Slack except for specific client channels you might want to keep an eye on
- Go through all your Slack messages/threads once every 24 hours at a minimum, when you are not focusing on something else
- Add as many integrations as possible to your Slack so you can see updates from multiple services in a single location
Response Time Expectations
Our policy is that each team member should reply to messages in any platform we work in within 24 business hours. You are encouraged to check Slack more frequently (between tasks within the work day) but not to have it open all the time and be constantly on top of every new message.
Statuses in Slack are useful for people to know what is going on with you during the day and whether they are likely to reach you quickly if they try.
Pro tip: the "Clear after..." setting has some default values, but you can also change these.
We suggest that you disable all notifications in Slack. Should you decide to keep some notifications, you should set a "Notification schedule" to reflect the time that you anticipate "being in the office" each day. You can also set specific rules to allow notifications for specific channels, if you have a client you want to be notified about activity for.
It can be helpful to set "keywords" for your name and anything else that you would like to "raise a flag" in Slack. This will apply to the badge in Slack and should not send you a ping or notification if you have those disabled.
You can set Slack to send you email notifications for @mentions and direct messages (similar to Basecamp), but we would recommend starting out with this disabled.
Configuring your sidebar in a way that works best for you is likely one of the top Slack productivity tips!
By default, the sidebar does not show some very helpful sections such as "All unreads." Recommended settings are below.
Depending upon your settings, Slack can sometimes "hide" unused or unfrequented conversations, personally I find this a bit challenging. This can be addressed by changing the "Show..." settings.
Important Sidebar Options (that are not overly visible)
The real magic of organizing your sidebar happens when you right click into the sidebar and click "Edit sidebar."
When you click "Edit sidebar" you're now able to create new folders in the sidebar and drag and drop channels, conversations, etc. to come up with a structure that works for you.
Personally, I've configured my sidebar with the following sections:
- Client Collaboration (Slack Connect)
- Internal Client Channels
- Connections (Slack Connect)
- Channels (Everything Else)
- Direct Messages
In addition to transitioning internal communication, we want to begin transitioning client communication to Slack where feasible. Some of our clients have already requested that we start to use Slack and have either invited us to their workspace or they've invited us to a Slack Connect channel that they manage.
Our preference is to invite clients to a Slack Connect channel that we manage.
- When clients are going to communicate with us in Slack, project managers should set up a Slack Connect channel for each of our clients titled "[client]-cantilever". In some cases we may also want to have project-specific channels but so far a single client-specific channel has been fine.
- If the client is using Slack, all communication that would typically be shared via email or Basecamp can be handled in Slack (including weekly updates).
Clients who do not have Slack, can be added as guests to a single channel in Slack.
All Slack channels should be public to the Cantilever org unless there is a specific reason.