With an almost unrivaled set of collaboration features, Slack has become a must-have for remote offices around the world. It makes communication with team members simple and effective thanks (in part) to a very simple and easy-to-use interface on mobile devices and computers.
It also comes with a feature that can derail your productivity goals—Slack bots (also known as Slack apps). These bots help integrate other services into the Slack interface, allowing you to do everything from team scheduling to video calls and more. Here are seven of the best Slack bots you can try in your Slack channel.
If you’re tired of answering the same questions over and over again, consider adding askSpoke to your Slack channel. This weak bot is part chatbot, part ticket counter. The bot automatically responds with clear answers to common questions, keeping more complex ones in a queue for you to answer in person.
You’ll need to add resources to askSpoke first, so there’s a bit of setup involved. Once saved, these common questions can be answered without any human interaction, saving you time and money (while keeping your colleagues happy).
However, askSpoke is not free, starting at $4 per month per employee.
Teams on a tight budget may not be able to afford to pay for a Slack bot, but there are free Slack bots to try. One of the best Slack bots for teams is Google Calendar for Team Events, which, as the name suggests, integrates your Google Team Calendar with your Slack channel to keep track of your team’s schedule.
Weekly or daily event summaries are pushed as notifications in Slack itself, along with special notifications about upcoming events. Any changes to your events (like a canceled meeting) will also be pushed to Slack so you don’t miss a thing.
This Slack bot is completely free to install and use. Google Calendar is one of the best online calendar services out there, and it’s also free.
Remote workers can’t exactly raise their hands during a team meeting. To be able to poll your employees, you’ll need a polling bot like Polly for your Slack channel. Polly comes with ready-made templates that you can edit for basic or advanced questions. You can also create your own to save time over a longer period of time.
Polly is a powerful option, particularly for large companies. With advanced workflows, you can monitor new employees with a built-in check-in system that automates regular check-ins and questions to help you stay on top of potential issues.
It is also flexible, allowing you to use it to solve any potential IT problem, for example as a mini help desk. You can try Polly with a free 14-day trial, with plans starting at $29 per month for 20 employees or users.
If your organization is smaller, Polly’s features may be too complex for your needs. That’s where Simple Poll comes in, offering a simple polling bot that asks your employees quick questions.
The name is not deceiving as it is quite easy to use – just type /poll then your question and possible options. Example, /survey “Do you like cheese?” “Yes No” will show a simple yes-no question asking your users if they like cheese or not.
A simple poll is free to use with some restrictions on the number of votes and polls that can be taken. The paid version is less restrictive, with anonymous answers and answer limits to get clearer answers, and costs $49 a month.
Remote workers can sometimes find it difficult to create the same team atmosphere that is automatically created in an office environment. Simple things like bringing cakes to a colleague’s birthday can be forgotten. You’ll never forget to celebrate those important dates again with BirthdayBot installed.
BirthdayBot keeps track of your team’s birthdays. Your users can share wish lists with BirthdayBot, which makes it easy to choose the best gifts, and allows managers to automatically send birthday gift cards to employees.
It is customizable, allowing you to set prompts for future birthdays as well. When a special day arrives, you can set the BirthdayBot to start the celebration on specific channels. BirthdayBot starts at $0.75 per month per user, with a 14-day free trial available.
Slack is primarily a text chat platform, but there comes a point when text and emoji 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 via voice and video chat is Dead Simple Screen Sharing.
Dead Simple Screen Sharing requires a Chrome extension installed on your computer to be able to share your screen, although it is not required for Firefox users. Its features are simple – it allows you to share webcam and microphone feeds as well as your desktop screen to communicate with other team members in real time.
A paid plan is available for $18 per month, which adds higher-resolution screen sharing and mass video conferencing for up to 150 users.
Automation can solve many time-consuming tasks in business. As one of the best IFTTT alternatives on the market, Zapier can be considered a must-have because it allows you to connect thousands of different services. With Slack integration, Zapier lets you manage these services directly from Slack itself.
Zapier comes with over 2,000 different apps that can be connected to Slack. You can edit Trello boards, send emails, schedule calls, publish notifications – Zapier’s powerful yet easy-to-use workflow system means you can set triggers and actions for core services without knowing a single line of code.
Zapier allows you to automate 100 tasks per month for free, up to five “sings” (tasks). If you need more automation, it will cost anywhere from $19.99 per month to almost $600 per month for the largest organizations.
Building better teams with Slack
Slack is the remote office environment every team needs. By installing some of these best Slack bots, 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. You may want to consider Microsoft Teams instead, as there are many pros and cons to consider in the Microsoft Teams vs. Slack debate.
Which platform is a must-have for your organization, and which Slack bots can’t you live without? Let us know in the comments below.