With a significant percentage of the workforce working remotely, encouraging online team building is crucial to your business. While online programs like Slack allow employees to stay in contact from their home offices, building team connections can be complicated in a remote setting.
Thankfully, the switch to virtual doesn't spell the death of workplace collaboration. On the contrary, by adequately using Slack apps to bolster team communications, you can take employee communication to new heights in 2023.
Let's look at why team building is vital to company culture and how Slack apps can bring your team closer and bolster productivity.
Why Is Team Building through Slack Important?
First launched in 2013, Slack became a pillar of office communication for traditional and virtual workplaces. Their secure, customizable, work-focused messaging platform allows accessible communication between departments without the hassle of email. Thanks to Slack, getting in contact with coworkers, organizing lunch meetings, and checking in on projects is easier than ever, making it a vital part of any modern office.
With so many offices offering hybrid or fully remote positions and the number of employees located away from the home office, team building through Slack is more crucial than ever. Gone are the days of standing around a physical water cooler; instead, employee connections come from online interactions. Slack apps can not only facilitate these interactions in a virtual space, but they can also offer prompts to connect employees.
Team building has a wide range of benefits for any business. Not only can it boost productivity, but it can encourage collaboration and stop workplace conflict before it happens. A team that communicates with each other and reaches out to other departments independently is a boon for any company. A connected group of employees leads to engaged workers and mitigates employee turnaround.
While traditional "team building" exercises tend to welcome eye rolls and jokes in the conventional office, team building exercises on Slack are minimally intrusive. As a result, they feel more natural than staging office-wide trust falls.
Slack Team Building Ideas
Slack apps are infinitely customizable to fit your team's needs, from polls on overall company performance to apps made to prompt conversation. In addition, Slack uses channels to facilitate organized communication. Using these channels to connect team members and prompt discussion, you're already on your way to a cohesive, productive team.
Slack team building can be as basic as encouraging conversations between employees and as complex as running a coffee buddy system weekly. Some apps allow for employee shoutouts, promoting uplifting office culture instead of an overly competitive atmosphere.
Depending on your team's needs, there are plenty of different team-building ideas. One of the most basic Slack team-building ideas is a poll. These polls can range from asking about project progress to more casual discussions about the cutest kind of dog. Including a mix of casual and more serious polls can keep workers engaged and help prompt a discussion at your next meeting.
Pairing conversation buddies, reminding employees about anniversaries and birthdays, and allowing workplace shoutouts are great ways to encourage team interactions. So let's look at common ways to build team connections with Slack apps.
Use Slack Conversation Starters
While Slack is primarily a workplace communication service, that doesn't mean every conversation has to be about work. Break down the dread surrounding Slack notifications by using conversation starters to engage your employees. From asking what celebrity they look most like to prompt employees to get to know one another, Slack conversation starters can boost team building and bridge the gap between different departments.
While you could conceivably sit down and come up with a list of conversation starters, Slack apps make the process more accessible than ever. In addition, thanks to scheduling options, you can have Slack auto-send conversation starters at critical times of the day. These conversation starters help keep Slack channels active and work to keep your employees engaged throughout the workday.
Since virtual employees miss out on casual socialization with fellow employees, creating the same lunchroom atmosphere as a physical office is crucial to maintaining workplace cohesion. Thanks to Slack apps, you can bolster employee connections naturally without feeling like you’re hosting a get-together every day of the week. If you find your Slack channels falling silent throughout the day, Slack conversation starters can be a lifesaver.
Recognize Team Accomplishments via Slack
Employee recognition is crucial to building a positive workplace culture. Recognized employees are more motivated and are likely to stay with the company. Not only does workplace recognition affect work performance, but it can also have positive impacts on an employee's home and personal life. We all like to feel valued, and when our employers recognize our efforts, we are more likely to continue giving it our all.
With a virtual or spread-out team of employees, employee recognition is just as crucial as ever. Thanks to Slack apps, you can create a positive, encouraging environment easier than ever. With apps to give employee shoutouts for a job well done, you can offer that social recognition in a virtual format. You can boost your employee satisfaction and bring your team closer together by running giveaways, allowing employees to shout out a job well done, and making employee recognition a regular occurrence.
Allowing employees to shout out a job well done helps reduce workplace conflict and creates a collaborative environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas. In addition, if you recognize your employees' contributions, they're more likely to bring creative, innovative solutions to the table, boosting your business.
Not only this, but if employees feel valued for their contributions, you can stave off the "quiet quitting" trend sweeping the workforce. While you may find verbal recognition works well for your team, giveaways and public recognition can be a great way to power workplace incentives like customer service or productivity milestones. Thanks to Slack apps, you can bundle these shoutouts into one convenient location, making it easier to give your employees the praise they deserve.
If we're being honest, almost no one wants to be at work on their birthday, and they especially don't want their birthday forgotten by the team. With a small office, tracking employee birthdays is simple enough. However, keeping track of each anniversary and birthday can quickly become overwhelming once your team grows.
Thanks to Slack apps, you can schedule automatic birthday reminders, making it easier to take a moment to celebrate your employees. Slack apps make tracking birthdays, workplace anniversaries, and more incredibly convenient. In addition, because it is easy to integrate Slack apps into your workflow, you can easily organize your business calendar without worrying about missing out on important events.
Add Slack Apps to Facilitate Remote Team Building
As we've mentioned, team-building with a remote or virtual workforce is just as important as in a physical office, if not more so. Because of how physically distant your team members may be from one another, forming workplace connections can be more difficult, leading to potential communication issues in the office.
Slack apps keep employee communications in one central location, creating a virtual office for your employees. Think of some Slack apps like adding upgrades to a physical workplace: a prompt app is a water cooler or employee lounge, a scheduling app is a corporate calendar or events team, etc. By tailoring your virtual workplace to your employee's needs, you create a space where they can connect, encourage team building, and foster a positive work environment.
Keep in mind that not all Slack apps work for every business and that not all Slack apps are created equal. For example, if you have a small team, big office giveaways may not fit your workplace culture, as well as a conversation prompt app would. Conversely, if your team members spend all day talking on Slack but don't feel they have any input in office practices, you may find a polling platform would work best.
Take the time to analyze your team's needs, be bold and try out different Slack apps before committing to a format. While the ideal Slack app combines various features into one unique system, you can pair several apps to create a unique workplace environment that fits your team. No matter what apps you end up working with, Slack apps can be a great way to encourage virtual team building and make your team feel closer than ever, regardless of their home office's location.
Top Slack Apps for Team Building
Now that we've covered why Slack apps are great for team building, let's get into our top picks. We've considered widespread use, multitasking, team size, and more to bring you the best Slack apps for team building. Since every workplace is different, you may find that some of these apps work better for your needs than others. With that in mind, here are the top Slack apps for team building in 2023.
If you're looking for one Slack app with everything you need for company culture, this app is for you. CultureBot combines social prompts, employee recognition, calendar reminders, and more all in one integrated app. If you're looking for an app that fosters employee connections and starts conversations while fostering a positive workplace environment, this is the app for you.
CultureBot features several settings, all geared toward creating a positive virtual workplace. From birthday reminders, wellness tips, and conversation starters to employee recognition and workplace introductions, this app has everything you need to build your ideal virtual office.
The virtual water cooler generates prompts and keeps the conversation moving, while its employee wellness features remind your team to take breaks, sit up straight, and take a moment to center themselves. In addition, by offering wellness incentives and raffles to keep employees engaged in their physical health, you can keep your team in tip-top shape throughout the workweek.
If you're looking for a single Slack app with everything you need to drive team engagement and bolster workplace connections, CultureBot is the app for you.
Simple Poll is a Slack app that does what it says on the tin. This app allows you to create polls for your employees. Anonymous functions let you get honest employee insights without compromising employee privacy. Gauge how your team feels about the latest project, send reminders about meetings, and schedule follow-up polls all from one convenient app.
While Simple Poll is a basic app, it's easy to use and has many different applications. From serious work polls to conversation starters, this polling app can help make your Slack channels more active and engaged while allowing your employees to feel heard.
As much as we wish Donut Bot could deliver donuts, it does the next best thing by pairing coffee buddies. Nothing bonds employees like a weekly coffee break; with Donut Bot, employees get regular human connections without making the first move. In addition, Donut Bot takes the awkwardness out of scheduling a meetup.
With virtual hangout spaces, this serendipity application lets employees connect over coffee without leaving their virtual office. This app is an excellent option for connecting different departments or welcoming new employees.
Reminding employees to take time and eat lunch is essential, which is where Lunch Train comes into play. Gone are arguments about where to eat; Lunch Train notifies teams that a lunch train to a local restaurant is on its way and prompts them to join.
While this app may not have as far-reaching practicality for virtual offices, reminding your employees to take a break together is still crucial in team building. Virtual offices can all order takeout from the same place, schedule a work hangout, or chime in with their favorite place to eat. Lunch Train is an excellent option if you're looking to bolster breaktime connections.
Trello is a standalone service that now has Slack integration. This app allows you to coordinate projects directly from Slack and create and assign new tasks. By working employee coordination into your Slack channels, Trello can keep the ball rolling on different projects and encourage other departments to contact one another.
While Trello focuses more on project management than social connections, tracking projects in one cohesive location can lower workplace conflicts and streamline production. If you're looking to coordinate projects across several teams, Trello is a good fit for you.