Setting up a shared Slack space: your options

With remote working popular at the moment, we’d definitely recommend adopting a form of instant messaging for maintaining productive teamwork and keeping everyone in the loop. Slack is a great way for teams to communicate, and at Switchplane it has enabled us to eliminate all internal emails.

As a quick overview, Slack provides spaces called “channels”, which can be set up for particular projects or clients to keep all related discussions in one place. The conversation archive is easily searchable, important messages can be pinned to a conversation, and you can also message your workspace members directly if there’s something to be discussed one-on-one. Video and voice calls are also possible.

Slack also has other useful features like reminders, so you can easily follow up on questions, threads, which help keep conversations around specific points linked together, and the ability to “@” certain people to draw their attention to a particular message. It’s simple to get a quick “yes” or “no” via Slack, rather than composing a more formal email, and you can easily acknowledge you’ve seen something with an appropriate emoji. 👍

For these reasons, at Switchplane we find that setting up a shared Slack space with our clients incredibly helpful. We can solve niggling questions and discuss implementation of features really easily, without the formality and overhead of writing an email.

Here are some options for how to go about setting up collaborative working on Slack:

  1. Set up a shared channel
    If both companies have a paid Slack workspace, a shared channel is the best option. Shared channels look and feel like normal channels, but have people from two different companies inside for everyone to discuss work and share files. However, it’s worth noting that only two organisations can share a channel.
    See Slack’s Guide to Shared Channels or their information on setting up a shared channel.
  2. Invite clients into a channel in your workspace
    If your clients don’t use Slack for their own internal communications, you can invite guests into particular channels in your own workspace to communicate with them directly. Anyone from your existing workspace can join the channel, but the guest can only see that particular channel - the rest of your workspace remains private. Single-channel guests are free to add, but they can only access one channel. For every paid active member in your workspace, you can add up to 5 guests.
  3. Be invited into a channel in your client’s workspace
    Depending on the numbers of people involved in the project, it might make more sense to be invited into a client’s Slack channel in their workspace instead, so multiple people from their organisation can join as needed. The same rules as above apply, just the other way around.
  4. Set up an Enterprise Grid organisation
    Enterprise Grid is for larger organisations, with multiple interconnected workspaces. Teams or business units can work in dedicated workspaces, but will be better connected through search and direct messaging across the whole organisation. These can be administered at both organisation and workspace level. It’s possible to set up multi-workspace channels, and share channels with external organisations too.
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