🧠 Did you know that every single paid Slack workspace has access to Workflow Builder and that anyone and everyone can automate routine tasks with it (*depending on how your admin has set up your workspace permissions)? Annnnd that Slack provides out of the box templates to help you get started?
Workflow Builder (WFB) offers a set of tools — no coding required! — to help you automate routine processes into workflows in your Slack workspace. Workflows in Slack can be as simple or as complex as you'd like, and can even be connected to other apps and services you use to get work done.
In this article, we're going to explore five types of scheduled processes you can automate using WFB and the "Scheduled date & time" trigger below.
You'll notice that using these scheduled workflows promotes asynchronous work and collaboration. Take a meeting reminder -- a daily stand up for example -- if your team collaborates asynchronously in a workflow post thread with text and Slack Clips, do you even need to have a meeting? The answer might just surprise you! (A: No)
All of the below are core to Slack itself - meaning that these workflows can be set up without any external integrations or systems. Of course you can do that, but this is a great place to start to learn WFB internal to Slack.
1. Daily / Every weekday (Monday to Friday)
From team stand ups to daily check ins, you can use WFB to fully automate and "a-synchronize" this process. Gone are the days of needing daily 15-30 minute blocks on your calendar to have half the team join late and give low effort updates they only started thinking about after the meeting started. With a daily workflow, you should be able to cancel the meetings completely (or greatly minimize the ones required), run the updates asynchronously, and get a handful of hours back in your week for each project. So if you are working on more than one project at a time, you can see how this quickly adds up -- now you can actually get work done! 😂
One-on-ones, project updates, sales syncs, team meetings, alignments, timesheet submission and approvals, working sessions, social prompts (i.e. "How has your week been?"). A majority of these meetings are named to be specific and have standard recurring agendas to help prep the team but the meeting consistently has 5-10 minutes of catch up at the start of the call. We've all been there. Fortunately, you can now automate away a lot of the catch-up time with weekly automated reminders. Have the team get the conversation started in thread asynchronously before the scheduled meeting so the meeting can be shortened and hyper focused -- or in some cases fully optional. Of course, for some weeklys you'll want face time, but for those that don't require it, why force it?
All hands, social prompts (i.e. "What'd you learn this month?"), team meetings, sales performance reviews, project status meetings, marketing strategy meetings, financial reports, expense approvals, health and wellness programs updates, employee recognition and awards, training and L&D updates... the list goes on and on. As we start to move away from shorter timeframe (daily/weekly) processes, these are usually more to prompt teams to be prepared as opposed to facilitating full asynchronous collaboration, though it's absolutely recommended to use threads on these to start conversations earlier.
4. Quarterly / Bi-Annually (Custom)
Planning, business reviews (QBRs), objectives and key results (OKRs), product roadmap meetings, performance reviews, strategy.. these meetings take place quarterly, require longer sessions and deeper agendas. To help guide the call, send reminders to team members early, letting them know how to prep for the call with links to information they should have updated or review before meeting. Send multiple messages in thread about what they should do ahead of the call and expectations on goals. Clearly from this example forward it is pretty difficult to go fully asynchronous, but it is possible for async-first teams.
Slack clean up, administrative reminders, contract reviews and renewals, inventory counts and audits, safety and security assessments, training, financial reporting, holidays nationally and internationally, tax filing, employee benefits and open enrollment, reports.. these are to automate reminders and link to more information. Here on the longest timeframe workflow cadence, the goals here are typically to remind the team that these things need to occur and/or share information, though work can always be done in thread!
I hope this article has sparked your imagination and given you some ideas to automate your work, make it much easier and increase you and your team's productivity by leveraging asynchronous work and Slack's core features. If your interest is piqued, check out some more examples of what we built for one of our customers here.
Now keep in mind that these examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can achieve with Slack Workflow Builder. Imagine the possibilities when you integrate these workflows with external systems and apps like Salesforce. The possibilities are pretty endless and the power is at your fingertips!
I'm happy to talk Workflow Builder any time - hit me up on Slack Connect firstname.lastname@example.org.