Smash productivity targets out of the ballpark
Thanks to an almost-unrivaled set of features to help collaboration, Slack has become a must-have for remote offices worldwide. It makes communication with team members simple and effective, thanks (in part) to a very simple and easy-to-use interface on mobile and desktop.
It also comes with a feature that can smash your productivity targets out of the park—Slack bots (also called Slack apps). These bots help integrate other services within the Slack interface, letting you do everything from team planning to video calling and more. Here are seven of the best Slack bots for you to try on your Slack channel.
If you’re tired of answering the same questions again and again, think about installing askSpoke to your Slack channel. This slack bot is part chatbot, part ticketing desk. The bot automatically responds with clear answers to common questions while saving the trickier ones into a queue that you can respond to personally.
You’ll need to add resources to askSpoke first, so there’s a little bit of a setup process. Once saved, these common questions can be answered without any human interaction, saving time and money (while keeping your co-workers happy).
askSpoke isn’t free, however, with pricing starting at $4 per month, per employee.
Teams on a budget may not be able to afford to pay for a Slack bot, but there are free Slack bots out there to try. One of the best Slack bots for teams is Google Calendar for Team Events which, as the name suggests, integrates your team Google calendar with your Slack channel to keep track of your team’s schedule.
Summaries of weekly or daily events are passed through as a notification in Slack itself, along with custom alerts for upcoming events. Any changes to your events (for instance, a canceled meeting) will be passed through to Slack, too, to make sure you don’t miss anything.
This slack bot is totally free to install and use. Google Calendar—one of the best online calendar services—is free to use, too.
Remote workers can’t exactly raise their hands during a team meeting. To be able to quiz your staff, you’ll need a polling bot like Polly for your Slack channel. Polly comes with pre-made templates that you can edit for basic or complex questions. You can also design your own to save time over a longer period.
Polly is a powerful option for larger businesses, in particular. With advanced workflows, you can monitor new employees with a built-in onboarding system that automates regular check-ins and questions to help you keep on top of potential issues.
It’s also flexible, allowing you to use it to handle any potential IT issues as a mini-helpdesk, for instance. You can try Polly out with a free 14-day trial, with plans starting at $29 a month for up to 20 employees or users.
If you’re a smaller organization, you might find Polly’s features to be a little too complex for your needs. That’s where Simple Poll comes in, offering a basic straw poll bot to ask quick questions to your employees.
The name doesn’t lie, as it’s pretty simple to use—just type /poll followed by your question and potential options. For example, /poll “Do you like cheese?” “Yes” “No” would show a simple yes-no question, asking your users whether or not they liked cheese.
Simple Poll is free to use with some limitations on the number of votes and polls that can be made. The paid version has fewer limits, with anonymous responses and response limits to gain clearer answers, costing $49 a month.
Remote workers can sometimes find it hard to build the same kind of team atmosphere that develops automatically in an office environment. Simple things, like bringing in cakes for a co-worker’s birthday, can be forgotten. You’ll never forget to celebrate those important dates again with the BirthdayBot installed.
BirthdayBot keeps a track of the birthdays in your team. Your users can share wishlists with BirthdayBot, making it easier to pick the best gifts, as well as allowing managers to send birthday gift-cards to employees automatically.
It’s customizable, allowing you to set hints for upcoming birthdays, too. When the special day comes, you can set BirthdayBot to begin a celebration in certain channels. BirthdayBot starts at $0.75 a month for each user, with a 14-day free trial available.
Slack is primarily a text chatting platform, but there comes a time when text and emojis just aren’t enough to solve a problem. One of the best Slack bots for remote workers who need to share their screens and communicate over voice and video chats is Dead Simple Screen Sharing.
Dead Simple Screen Sharing requires a Chrome extension installed on your PC to be able to share your screen, although this isn’t required for Firefox users. Its features are straightforward—it allows you to share your webcam and mic feeds, as well as your desktop screen, to chat with other team members in real-time.
A paid plan at $18 a month is available, adding higher-resolution screen sharing, as well as mass video conferences for up to 150 users.
Automation can solve many of the time-consuming jobs in a business. As one of the best IFTTT alternatives in the market, Zapier can be considered a must-have, allowing you to combine thousands of different services together. With Slack integration, Zapier allows you to control these services directly from Slack itself.
Zapier comes with over 2,000 different apps you can combine with Slack. You can edit Trello boards, send emails, schedule calls, post notifications—Zapier’s powerful but easy-to-use workflow system means you can set triggers and actions for major services without needing to know a single line of code.
Zapier allows you to automate 100 tasks in a month for free, across up to five “zaps” (tasks). If you require more automation, it’ll cost you from $19.99 a month up to nearly $600 a month for the biggest organizations.
Building Better Teams With Slack
Slack is the remote office environment that every team needs. With some of these best Slack bots installed, you can turn Slack into your second brain, keeping you and your team organized in one place.
Of course, Slack isn’t the only collaboration platform out there. You might want to consider Microsoft Teams instead, with plenty of pros and cons to consider in the Microsoft Teams vs Slack debate.
Which platform is a must-have in your organization, and which Slack bots can’t you live without? Let us know in the comments below.