Free up your inbox by making internal emails a thing of the past. Images investigates team messaging app Slack

Team communication app Slack is a godsend for those drowning in emails. No, it doesn‘t detect irrelevant emails and delete them: this clever app lets team members chat, upload files and generally collaborate without having to resort to email. Because, as we all know, group emails can be an irritation and are easily lost in a already heaving inbox.

With Slack, you get a separate system that staff can use solely to communicate with each other. Teams can create channels that only certain people are invited to: if you want your sales staff to have a space in which to write the copy for the latest sales brochure, then create a channel called Sales brochure: the name doesn‘t matter, but the ability to communicate about the new sales brochure and have all conversations and resources in one, easy to search place, and no requirement to open and reply to ‘53 emails’ will cheer the entire team.

You could create a channel where operators can note any problems with a particular machine that the MD or support team need to be alerted to. Need another cone but too busy to leave the embroidery room? Send a message on Slack to the team in the warehouse and they can sort out whatever materials you need (and a cup of tea if you‘re lucky).

Private channels can be created – ideal for those commercially-sensitive projects that only a few team members are allowed to know about – and users can also send direct messages to each other.

File sharing is also possible, whether that‘s images, sales enquiries, production sheets, job tickets, digitizing files, spreadsheets… and the reliable search function will allow you to retrieve that football shirt design that Bob sent three weeks ago and that the client now wants another 30 of asap.

You‘ll be able to connect all the tools you use to Slack, meaning no more switching between apps. It‘s all there, in one place, and Slack can be set so you get all your notifications directly within the app – from sales leads to support requests.

There are native Slack apps for both Android and iOS, so whether you‘re using a tablet on an automatic press or taking notes on your phone while checking a delivery, you‘ll be able to connect.

According to a survey by Slack, team owners and administrators reported that internal email was reduced by a whopping 48.6% after adopting Slack, and the number of meetings was reduced by 25.1%, while 80.4% said Slack had increased transparency in their teams.

It also makes it easy to manage a remote team, so if your print or embroidery shop is split across different sites then Slack will help them keep in touch. A lost box of hoodies will no longer mean endless phonecalls to the different sites – instead it‘ll take one message to ask everyone to do a check of the boxes to see if they have one more than expected.

Slack doesn‘t have to be used for serious business only – it can also be used for general chitchat (remember to set up a channel for general ramblings) or group catch-ups on current standings in the firm’s Football Fantasy League.

Slack packages start at a budget-busting £0 for small teams who want to use only the channels and have a limited number of service integrations. Paid-for-packages that come with many more features, and will even integrate with your email system to give you maximum control over your internal communications, start at $6.67 per user per month.

If you‘re looking for a way to dramatically reduce internal emails and meetings, as well as improving communication, productivity and transparency, then Slack is the way to go. Try it: it just ‘works’… and your inbox will thank you.

www.slack.com