At Root, we value working closely with partners and clients on a day-to-day basis and find collaborating on Slack the best way to incorporate our practice of transparency into how we do this.

Transparency is a virtue we hold ourselves to in our everyday work. We realise that promoting transparency is essential to fostering collaboration and ensuring information is always accessible to our partners and our team. Siloing information in a black hole of emails, direct messages (DMs) and private channels is not useful to anyone.

In practice, this means setting up shared Slack channels between our team members and partners at the start of every project. To familiarise our partners with the tool, we share this simple guide to ensure that we can start collaborating transparently as soon as a project kicks off.

For those coming from an MS Teams, email-only or even Whatsapp-heavy environment, Slack is an instant messaging collaboration tool, which allows for both async and synchronous chats.

Tips for managing Slack

Getting started

You can set up and use Slack via an app on your laptop/phone or via your browser. We recommend downloading and setting up notifications inside the app, instead of using Slack through your browser and getting email notifications every time you get a Slack message.

Slack has some useful guides to help you get started here.

Stay secure

Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for your Slack account for an added layer of security. You’ll need to have access to your phone when you sign into Slack — so if your password is compromised or stolen, only you can sign in to your account.

Organise your messages

If you’re working across multiple channels, group them under Sections: Slack has a feature called ‘Sections’ that allows you to move channels under a named ‘section’. This is great for creating ‘must read’ sections versus ‘can read when I am free and not deep working’.

Choose the best channel for the type of message you’re sending

  • Public channels are for conversations that are open to all members. Messages posted to channels are archived and searchable by all your teammates. This is always our first port of call at Root.
  • Private channels are best for topics that are sensitive or confidential. A private channel and its contents are visible and searchable only to the channel members. This function is rarely used at Root—#PublicByDefault.
  • Direct messages are helpful for quick, private conversations between two or more members. They're visible and searchable only to you and the members you DM. At Root, we only use this when discussing salary, performance, or things of a personal nature.

Minimise distractions

  • To still be a part of a channel but only be notified if you are directly tagged in something, you have the option of muting channels. Mute channels where you do not need to be notified.
  • To mute Slack prompts, head to Preferences -> Notifications -> Mute all sounds from Slack and tick this checkbox. No more ping!

Stay on top of things

If you read a message and can’t manage it right now, you have three features at your fingertips to remind you later. To find them, click the kebab menu icon (three vertical dots) on the message:

  • Mark unread: This is great for quieter channels where you can come back to the channel to read later.
  • Remind me about this: This is more helpful for busy channels where additional messages are shared after you have paused the action item. Slack has several native settings ranging from 20 minutes to tomorrow, along with a custom setting.
  • /remind Slackbot: This shortcut on Slack can be a lifesaver for tasks and things that need doing at a regular cadence. Need a team member to send you information at the same time each week? Use /remind @TeamMember “Please send me the report for this week, you amazing person, you!” at 9 am every Friday.

Additional reading