Enhancing Slack

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I've been using Slack a lot recently, although to be honest I have always used Slack a lot, but it feels like I'm using it more than normal since Wayfair started it's work from home period. I've probably put in ~8 hours in the app (Mac and Android apps combined) every week-day for the past few months 😱.

While using the app as much as I have been in the past few months, I've stumbled upon a few enhancements that I think would really improve my workflow and allow me to be more productive[1]. I've broken these down into four specific features I would like to see:

  • Automatic Timezone Conversion
  • Channel Bundles
  • Saved Channel Filters
  • A "Previously Read" view

Automatic Timezone Conversion

Even more recently than the beginning of our work-from-home period, I decided to fly back out to the west coast and work from my parents home for a little while, so far it's been a really great experience! One of the things I have found myself doing in the middle of messaging my teammates however is doing the timezone conversion in my head and writing out both times.

For example, if I was talking with a teammate to schedule a meeting, I'll generally say something like

Does 3pm EST (12pm PST) work for you?

When in reality, what I really want to do is just message them the propsed time in my timezone and have Slack do the heavy lifting of converting that to my teammates timezone.

I imagine the other person seeing the time formatted for their timezone, and maybe a tooltip that they can hover over to see the time in my timezone. This would be such a small feature, but would really make the experience for teams that are distributed across multiple timezones and across the globe!

Channel Bundles

If you're anything like me, you happen to be in hundereds of Slack channels, some of them are closely related and others are wildly different. Since the addition of sections in the UI, I've been grouping these channels together which has been really great. However, if there are updates across several related channels I have to either scroll through my All Unread view to find them all, or click into each channel individually.

After thinking about this ~~problem~~ minor inconvenience for a bit, the best idea that I had could best be described by channel bundles. I'm envisioning that this could look like a "super-channel", where I can choose to group all the threads and messages from several channels and display them in a single chronological view.

This could be just an unread view that is filled with specific channels instead of showing the full history - either way this would allow me to easily see the general discussion happening across related channels easily.

Saved Channel Filters

Several teams in Wayfair use -feed or -update Slack channels to share automated or manual release notes for a wide audience. Something that our team has been balancing is the number of these channels we post to and the variety of information we share. We might post updates for a new library release that is most pertiant to one audience and then post another release that is more pertiant to a completely different audience.

To aid with this, it would be neat for Slack to support saved filters on specific channels, or even across multiple channels. Kind of like a continuous, pinned search result across the workspace. I think something like this could be accomplished via using keywords and following them in the messages and reactions view - but if your team uses emoji like Wayfair does that view gets drowned out with a ton of reactions.

To take this to another level, imagine being able to share these saved filters, maybe even having a workflow share them when new folks join a channel!

Previously Read

If I had a penny for every time that I accidentally, and unintentionally, marked a message as read and then completely forgot about it I think I would be able to buy Slack outright 😂 It would be great to scroll back through a chronological feed of my past unreads and notifications in a single view, and then easily mark conversations as unread.

I really wish every application offered this kind of git-like history view of notifications!

I don't expect the above ideas to ever make their way into the Slack application, but if you are a PM, or an engineer, or a designer working at Slack and want to chat more about any of the above then definitely hit me up! What other features would you like to see added to Slack?


[1] - Separately I should really write up a blog post about my Slackworkflow 🤔