Slack is the favored collaboration tool for office workers trying to avoid email fatigue and to communicate with remote team members. It allows for real-time group chats, file sharing, direct messages and multiple chat rooms, known as “channels.” And with the ability to integrate third-party apps, Slack has become a one-stop collaboration tool for businesses across every industry.
Slack offers a plethora of compatible apps and bots that will let you customize it to perfectly suit your business needs. Here are 10 of the best Slack apps and bots to help your team do everything from generating to-do items for team members to automating the standup meeting process – and many of them won’t cost you a dime.
Trello is a visual collaboration tool that lets you share a project with other users to get real-time live feedback on the progress. Users can assign tasks, update to-do lists and add comments or notes to any Trello board directly from Slack. You can track projects, calendars and to-do lists, and with Trello cards, you can send quick, pertinent details about the status of any project to your Slack channel. Trello offers a basic free plan, but you’ll need to upgrade to the Business Class plan ($10/user/month) to integrate with Slack.
Ditch the post-meeting follow-up email — filled with action items for various team members — and replace it with the To-do bot. This free bot lets you quickly send any action item directly to another user’s to-do list and view or manage multiple lists. When an action item pops up in a meeting, you can just type a Slack message containing /todo followed by the user name, task and due date, and it will automatically populate in the user’s to-do list.
To do lists can be set for an entire Slack room, as well as for individual people. You can see the updates right in the Slack room, where you can also dismiss task items, mark them as completed or share them with others.
WorkingOn offers a “minimalistic progress tracker” for when you want to track productivity without investing too much time or feeling like Big Brother. With WorkingOn, team members can post updates using the /on command, and the app will automatically push them to a dedicated channel. It’s an easy way to keep everyone updated, motivate your team, collaborate and avoid duplicating efforts. WorkingOn offers a free Basic plan; paid plans start at $4/user/month with a 30-day free trial.
[ Further reading: 7 unexpected ways collaboration software can boost productivity ]
If you rely on Google+ Hangouts for voice calls, video chat or screen-sharing, you can integrate the app into Slack to initiate a chat using a quick prompt in your Slack channel. A link populates and takes you to a Hangouts session complete with a Slack control panel on the right-hand side. From there, you can control the meeting and invite other Slack users to join the Hangouts session.
Simple Poll comes in handy whether you want to gauge interest in adding a new feature to a product or figure out where to order lunch. You can send out quick polls to a Slack channel to get a consensus on anything you want — whether it’s work related or a poll to finally settle your most pressing interoffice debates.
You can upload and share documents within Slack, but a free account only gets you 5GB of file storage. If you deal with larger files, or you don’t want them to disappear after uploading, you can integrate Google Drive into Slack. You’ll paste a shareable link into Slack, and a slackbot will ask if you what permissions (view, comment or edit) you want to give colleagues who have the link. Files won’t be stored in Slack, but they will be searchable, making it easy to find links to past documents.
Standup meetings are valuable for any agile team, but they can be time consuming, and it can be difficult to get everyone on board at the same time. Standuply is an app that integrates with Slack to automate the standup process and allow for asynchronous meetings. It interviews each team member individually and then delivers the results through Slack. It helps ensure everyone is following the process without taking shortcuts, and it helps bring remote workers into the process.
While Standuply is in beta (until the fourth quarter of 2017), it is free for all users. After that it will have free and paid plans.
Collaboration is always better when your team has a strong bond — and that bond is often strengthened by letting loose now and then. Integrating Giphy into Slack lets users quickly find the perfect animated gif to shake things up and have some fun — or to complain about the latest unrealistic request from a client. And, at the very least, it can spark a lively discussion about whether it’s pronounced “gif” or “jif.”
What better way to show appreciation for your co-workers than to send them an emoji taco? Sure, there are probably better ways, but they might not be as cost-effective or simple as HeyTaco! With this Slack app, users send and receive the taco emoji to recognize one another’s hard work and dedication. It’s gamified with a leaderboard to show who gets and who gives the most tacos; the more tacos you send and receive, the more gifts and rewards you unlock.
With a 60-day free trial and priced at $2/user/month after that, it’s a fun and silly way to bring employees together and to recognize hard work on a tight budget.
Preserve office friendships and avoid creating a toxic work environment by implementing Spoiler into your Slack chats. The app lets you post a “spoiler alert message” that will hide posts discussing plot twists in movies and TV shows that others in your group may not have seen yet and lets them decide if they want to see the spoiler. You’ll never again risk destroying workplace harmony by assuming everyone is caught up on Game of Thrones.
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