The PRmoment Tool Review: Virtual office tool Slack gets 4.5 stars

In the latest of our PRmoment Tool Reviews Hoxby Collective’s Firgas Esack  reviews collaborative tool Slack.

Name and maker

Slack

What this tool does

Slack is a collaborative hub, which can be used as scalable communication and idea sharing platform – or as we at Hoxby use is – a virtual office. You can chat as you might on Messenger, in channels which are either public or by invitation, assign tasks to colleagues, share images and documents and also connect via video within the workspace. Nothing is lost and if you tag someone in the post, the message will show in their feed (or on their phone if they have notifications turned on). In addition, you can customise your profile, update status and seamlessly connect Slack with your G-drive.

As the Hoxby community is 500-strong in 30 countries, Slack enables us to work on projects collectively in different time zones whilst respecting our individual workstyles (ie, preferred hours of work).

Price as reviewed

Slack is either free or priced per user (£6,60). The free version has the same functionality, but the storage capacity is limited and it has a limitation of 10,000 messages (whereas the paid option stores your entire message history).

The test

At Hoxby, we might use a dedicated project channel on Slack to brief a team or individual. As an organisation we have found that there is a need for clear, precise communication, but we often respond to an action point with an emoji, as this is efficient and accepted Hoxby practice. So – for example – posting a document and asking an individual or a team to use a ‘thumbs up’ emoji to mark that it has been read shows the project leader that the task has been completed.

What we asked this tool to do: make a video call

We find that there is no need to be physically present in an office when video conferencing is equally – if not more engaging. We use G-meet, but the video calling option within Slack is brilliant for quick conversations and very easy to facilitate – you just search for the name of the colleague you wish to call, then click on their profile – the option to call them comes up there and you simply select that.

How it performed

The initial dial up can be a little slow (depending on your own and the other person’s connection) but it is much simpler than, say, Skype. If the person you are calling is away from their desk, they will see a call attempt message in the Slack thread.

Likes

It is an effective tool to share information and collaborate with a remote working community.

You can customise the interface to your brand colours and add bespoke emojis, plus also you can ‘star’ the most used or preferred channels, which moves them to the top of your channel list.

You can choose your preference for notifications and also enable them to your phone (or turn them off completely).

Dislikes

For an organisation with a large number of users, Slack can be costly – although if an individual doesn’t log in for a month, they aren’t billed for it.

Score out of five

Written by Firgas Esack, associate at marketing agency The Hoxby Collective

PRmoment Awards 2019