In today’s fast-paced world, shortcuts can be big time and sanity savers. They let us take back control of our time and cut out inefficiencies. When given the chance, most people will choose shortcuts over long and inefficient routes any day. I know I would.
Today, Slack has launched its new shortcuts feature, a dedicated menu for users to take action from anywhere in Slack. With millions of employees currently working from home, it’s become increasingly important to stay productive and improve time management skills. We’re extremely proud to have Doodle featured as one of the productivity tools in shortcuts. That means you can schedule meetings, create collaborative polls for voting/deciding on meeting times and quickly launch polls – without ever leaving Slack.
It goes without saying that we’re huge fans of and believers in Slack. We know developing a feature like this is no easy feat. Being trained as a journalist, I was rather curious about what motivated the team to build shortcuts, what type of feedback they’re seeing from users and how the new feature could be a boon to employee engagement, collaboration and productivity.
Thankfully, I was able to satiate my curiosity by speaking directly with one of Slack’s product managers, Lorilyn McCue. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
What was Slack’s impetus behind launching the Home Tab and Shortcuts? Why was Doodle a natural fit as an integration partner for the launch of these new features?
Lorilyn: At Slack, we’re passionate about efficiency and collaboration. We want our apps to be as easy as possible to use so you can waste less time switching between tasks and manually performing tasks that could easily be automated.
For example, our team once pulled out a timer to see how long it took to switch to the right application, log in, perform an easy task and return back to previous work. It was nearly impossible to do it in under 3 minutes, leaving us feeling annoyed, frustrated and inspired to find a solution to a very common problem. With the home tab and shortcuts, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a task from 3+ minutes down to a mere 30 seconds.
Doodle Bot was a natural fit for Shortcuts, as it’s a smart, intuitive solution to schedule meetings that already saves users time (and frustration!). Now people can simplify, automate and speed up their scheduling by clicking on the shortcuts lightning bolt in Slack. It’s as easy as selecting “Create a poll,” filling out an easy form and voila: a poll to coordinate the best meeting time amongst teams and even external stakeholders.
Users can also navigate to the home tab if they need to find those polls, edit them, or refer to a recent poll. It’s a one-stop-shop to find what you need without having to task-switch. Ultimately, we built shortcuts to help users take rapid action and we built the home tab within the app to help users find the information they need. If we’ve saved people time and made things more efficient —mission accomplished.
Given the current situation (remote work being the new normal), has your team modified your priorities when integrating with other software/apps? For example, have productivity tools moved up your priority list for integrations?
Lorilyn: We’ve seen a huge increase in Slack users installing and using apps since lockdowns and social distancing rules went into effect the past few months. Fortunately, with over 2,000 apps in our App Directory, we have integrations already available for most productivity tools. One thing we have started paying more attention to during this time is how hard it can be to install and set up an app. Since so many new people are getting started with apps, we’ve been thinking about how to make it easier and more fluid. Again, we want to help users save time and frustration so they can focus on the tasks and people that matter most in their lives.
With this new integration, Slack users will be able to add Doodle Bot to their shortcuts and take care of all of their scheduling needs (create a poll, get calendar reminders and more) without ever leaving Slack. How do you see this impacting employee collaboration and productivity?
Lorilyn: Remember that timer exercise I mentioned earlier? The time wasn’t spent making the poll; rather, a big chunk of time was spent navigating from one application to another. Previously, users were talking in Slack and then had to switch gears, go to their browser, remember their login details, start their poll and, finally, share it. Now users can cut out those extra steps and simply start their poll and share it, without ever leaving Slack. That saved time can be refocused and reinvested back into completing projects, attending brainstorming sessions and other important tasks.
Having Doodle Bot available in the shortcuts menu on Slack will certainly boost collaboration and productivity among teams. It keeps the action where the conversation is. Scheduling is one of the most used app categories to boost productivity. With Doodle as one of the leading scheduling solutions, we’re confident that new app features like shortcuts will only make it easier to schedule meetings where work already happens.
Since launching Shortcuts, what type of feedback have you received from users? Have you noticed any changes in adoption and engagement since going live? Do you have any data to support this?
Lorilyn: We know that users discover apps by seeing them in Slack channels or hearing about it from a co-worker. Shortcuts increases the visibility of Doodle Bot, while also driving time-saving workflows. It’s still early — but users have already begun to express their appreciation for how easy it is to find these shortcuts — and the time it’s saving in their days, which have recently become bombarded by more and more virtual meetings and distractions.
Want to set up Doodle polls from Slack shortcuts? Just follow these simple steps:
- If you’re already using Doodle in your Slack workspace, just click the lightning bolt icon in Slack and select Doodle from the shortcuts menu. We’ve also created a video tutorial to walk you through the steps.
- If you’re a newbie to Doodle, head to the Slack App directory to install the Doodle app in your workspace.