COVID-19 Series, Part IV: Building a Slack Community to Stay Connected

COVID-19 Series, Part IV: Building a Slack Community to Stay Connected
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While Zoom cocktail hour has become a popular way to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, we have found ways to leverage the business tools we use every day to promote workplace harmony and excel in building a Slack community. Our Slack channels, focused on projects, clients, housekeeping, and various topics, serve both our professional interests like technology and tech events, and personal passions. Here’s how creating diverse channels has been instrumental in bringing our employees closer together and strengthening our Slack community.

#covidpalooza 😷

After much discussion, we decided that it made sense to have a channel dedicated to the lighter side of the pandemic. We post pictures of our morning coffee cups and are blown away by the endless variety some of us seem to have. We share information, memes, articles, resources, and discuss the impact we are seeing in our personal lives. A lot of us at Mission Data have school-age children and commiserate about the things going on in that world. It’s been a nice place to connect with others, all of whom are going through a lot of the same things and might just need a place to be heard or voice concerns.

#homecooks 🍲

A lot of us at Mission Data love to cook, so creating a channel specifically for that topic made a lot of sense. We share tips, deals we’ve found, recipes we’ve tried, and of course pics of dishes we’ve made. We’re also great about sharing failures so others can learn from our mishaps. A few years ago we took on a cooking challenge using recipes from the Top Chef University Cooking app. Now that we’re all cooped up at home and cooking more than ever, we thought a Chopped-style challenge would be a fun way to stay connected from afar. It’s not easy finding items at the store these days, so contestants were given a list of 4 ingredients and 2 weeks to purchase them and prepare their dish. Recipes, photos, and a review from a family member (if available) were secretly shared with our judge, who shared them in Slack for our team to vote on their favs. The categories were: 

😋- Lip Smackability 
🎨- Creativity 
📸- Best Presentation

If you want to know who won or check out the amazing concoctions we cooked up- Check out the article our challenge judge wrote on the whole affair: Quarantine Chopped Challenge: Cooking Up a Remote Sense of Community

#venting 😤

It’s sometimes hard to not bring down the mood in a particular channel around a topic when your experiences or thoughts on the matter are on the negative side. So we dedicated a channel to straight-up complaining. If you’re in the channel you have signed up for listening to it but at the same time get the luxury of adding to the pool. It’s been a great way for the team to know they’re being heard and provide an outlet for everyone to let off steam.

#praising 🙌

It was wisely decided that if we had a #venting channel we should compliment that with a place to share the good things happening at work, and in our personal lives. The topics shared range from something a coworker has done to make your life better or an accomplishment they have made, to positive people and events in our lives outside of the office. 

#fun-and-games 🏆

While all Slacks have a #random channel for, you know, whatever, we wanted a place that was more dedicated to wasting time. It started primarily as a playground for trebekbot which has been an ongoing activity for years now. Anybody can play a round of Jeopardy-style questions whenever they want but it’s, of course, a lot more fun when multiple people are playing at the same time racing to the answer (or question in this case). We’ve explored other things like picture puzzles or “name that movie” type games as well.

#music 🎶

The purpose of this channel is pretty self-explanatory, anyone can join and share music with the rest of the team. During the quarantine, we used this space to engage employees in a little game. Each morning for 30 days I would post a prompt in the channel, such as ‘Day 9: A song you never tire of’ or ‘Day 12: A song that reminds you of your childhood’ and so on. Sometimes I grabbed the prompt from similar challenges I found online, other times I’d make up my own. It was all in good fun and allowed us to learn a lot about each other’s tastes and music preferences- as well as discover new artists and/or songs we’d never heard before.

There are plenty of other channels that allow us to connect outside of work-related topics like #movies, #tv-series, #star-wars, #gardening, #gaming, #beer, #bourbon, and #pets. The slack channels discussed in this article may sound trivial to some, but we believe providing outlets that encourage our team to learn about one another and remain connected no matter where we’re working- are important for morale and the overall good of the company.

Tweet us the channels you use and love at your office! 

Reach out to us today and let’s explore how we can collaborate.