Slack is a digital workspace that EARS uses to manage projects and tasks.
Join the EARS workspace
- Open this website: 
- Enter your details
- Check your emails and accept the invitation
- Download Slack apps or just use it in your browser
Here’s what a workspace looks like:
Your Slack workspace is comprised of channels. You’ll use channels to hold most of your conversations with other members. They are organised around projects, or teams. Every workspace starts with two channels by default: #general and #random.1
In Slack, there are two kinds of channels:
- Public channels: They’re open to your entire team. All messages within a public channel are archived in Slack and are searchable by all members. Marked with a # next to the channel’s name.
- Private channels: They allow a group of teammates to discuss and share privately within Slack. You have to be invited to a private channel in order to see and search for its contents. Marked with a lock icon next to the channel’s name.
When you need to quickly chat or check in with teammates, you can send them a direct message (DM). Direct messages are best for ad-hoc, quick discussions. These conversations are only visible to and searchable by you and the other members you DM. You can DM just one person, or start a group message with up to 8 other people.2
Communication in Slack happens through messages, whether they’re in channels or DMs. You can use Markdown to format your messages.
If you need to call the attention of someone specific, type @ followed by their display name to send them a notification.3
To make it easier to group conversations, you should use threads for replying to specific messages. Threads let you respond directly to a message in a channel, keeping the replies organized neatly in a single, threaded conversation.4
You can choose to receive notifications on your desktop, your mobile device, or by email. Notifications can even be customized by channel, so you can prioritise where your attention goes.
You can set up Do not disturb, which will mute all notifications between the two specified times. If you would like to turn this off, open Preferences then Notifications and set it up based on your preferences.5
Useful Slack commands
- @channel: To send a notification to everyone in the channel. This can be annoying if you’re in a large channel. People tend to use @channel a lot, but it’s useful for getting everyone’s attention.
- @username: To send a notification to a specific person inside a channel, type @username. For example, @john.
- @here: Like @channel but only notifies people that are online and active, so less annoying.
- /me: If you want to talk in third person, this is for you. For example, if you’re going to lunch, you’d type “/me is going to lunch” and it would show as “John is going to lunch.”
- /shrug: Adds a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to your message.
- /leave: Drop out of a channel.
- /collapse: Hides all images and GIFs in a channel. 6
We use Workast to manage tasks for projects. You can get the list of projects by opening this site or by typing /todo in the project’s channel.
You can create a task by typing /todo Send email to John. You can assign this to someone by selecting the appropriate option from the drop-down in todobot’s response. If the task has a deadline, you can add a due date for that task from the same drop-down menu.
To remove a task, type /todo remove TXXX where TXXX is the task’s ID.
To get all the tasks for a list/channel, type /todo list and todobot will send you all available tasks.
On the web interface, you can see all your lists at a glance. You can select perspectives for viewing the tasks (due today, tasks assigned by me / to me).
If you would like to have a personal list, send a DM to todobot with /todo and it will create a list for you. This way you can send it tasks without opening the web interface.
Having trouble with using Slack? Check Slack’s Getting Started guide or Workast’s Help site. If you’re still unable to solve the issue, contact us at hello[at]surreyears.co.uk and we’ll help you sort it out.