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Where would remote work be if not for digital technology? 

The reason why the pivot to working from home was so successful in the first place was because of the available technology. It’s not just having a laptop — it’s having communication software that allows you to send instant messages, apps that keep track of projects, and platforms that measure the results of all this work in real time. 

Yet this influx of tools has also come at the risk of overloading teams with the sheer amount of tools out there. How can employees keep track of their tools and use them efficiently?

More than half of remote workers surveyed said they were uncertain if all departments were using the same online tools and communication apps; 43% thought they spent too much time switching between different applications, and 45% thought it made them less productive. 

One way to start streamlining your tools is looking at your most used communications channels and building around it. Considering that more than 12 million people use Slack daily, Slack apps and integrations are a great way to keep work streamlined and your people focused. 

What are Slack apps? 

Slack apps connect other software to Slack – the platform’s solution to streamlining tools and workflows into one place. Currently, there are more than 2,400 apps in the Slack App Directory. With Slack apps, you can keep work in just one spot, enabling faster collaboration and streamlining operations. 

If you have the free version of Slack, you can have up to 10 apps in your workspace. There are no limits for paid plans. Some apps may require a subscription or payment to use their product (like HubSpot and Salesforce), so keep in mind those costs. 

Slack apps do more than streamline operations. They also:

Enable remote work

Apps can help keep your team connected and communication smooth. Integrate your calendar to keep meetings running on time or track progress with a tool like Standuply that automates daily standups. Since a remote workforce doesn’t have physical space, having these kinds of tools can give some structure to your team. 

Optimize productivity 

Remote teams often enjoy greater productivity because of less distractions and disruptions at home. It’s important to remember: productivity comes from a productive space. Building apps and integrations into Slack minimizes context switching, allowing team members to stay on task by eliminating distractions and the need to hunt for decentralized information. 

Build culture

Slack apps can help bring the team together. Scroll through categories in the directory like Communication, Health & Wellness, HR & Team Culture, and Social & Fun and see what lies there. Airspeed has a suite of culture-focused Slack apps that helps celebrate and connect teammates with features like facilitating introductions for employees and new hires, tracking birthdays and work anniversaries, and creating virtual cards for celebrations. 

What apps work with Slack?

There are three different types of apps you will find in the Slack App Directory: apps built by Slack, third parties, and ones built by your own team. Third party apps include popular SaaS platforms like Salesforce, Asana, Jira, and Gitlab, or other tools like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar. 

The most popular Slack apps include:

  1. Google Drive – share, manage, create, and find files within Slack, and automatically sends updates on files in the Drive.
  2. Zoom – start and make Zoom meetings from any Slack Channel by typing /zoom slash command.
  3. Google Calendar – sync calendar to create, keep track, and respond to events.
  4. Simple Poll – create polls, follow results, and gain feedback through customized survey options.  
  5. Zapier – see status of Zaps and start new workflows. 
  6. Jira Cloud – track Jira issues and create tickets. 
  7. Loom – record asynchronous videos and embed them in Slack. 
  8. Outlook Calendar – create events, review schedule, and sync status automatically. 
  9. Workast – create checklists and tasks for yourself or your team to keep track of projects, and import tasks from existing project management systems. 
  10. OneDrive and Sharepoint adjust permissions and share and preview files. 

Not searching for a specific app, but looking for one that will serve your needs? With 19 categories, users can discover the right tools in the Slack app directory.

How to add an integration and build workflows in Slack 

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of Slack apps available. You may have discovered something new or found that the software you already use has an app. Don’t be intimidated – the best part of Slack apps is how easy it is to download apps and start using them right away. 

  1. First, explore the Slack App Directory
    Note: If you’re already working in the Slack app, you can explore the apps available in the directory by clicking “Apps” in the left sidebar. 
  2. Then, find the app you want to install and go to its page 
  3. Click “Add to Slack” 
  4. Finally, install the app or connect to your account! 

Paid users can use Workflow Builder to create custom workflows in specific channels. In the left sidebar, go to tools then Workflow Builder to start. You can either create custom workflows or use one of Slack’s templates. If you choose to create your own, you will need to identify the trigger for the workflow and what action you want to follow. 

Making Slack apps a part of your digital toolkit

Slack apps make it easy to bring together all of the tools you use into one cohesive digital toolkit. Now your team can enjoy the benefits that different services provide – without having to leave their digital hub! 

Digital tools have been the saving grace of hybrid and remote workspaces everywhere. As one leader who has been remote for 10+ years said, the introduction of tools changed the remote work game – enabling more to happen than ever before, no matter where you are in the world. 

Want to start building your remote work culture through Slack? Unlock Free Early Access to our culture-building Slack apps.

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