Finder amplifies global collaboration by going all-remote with Slack

Chief product and technology officer Joe Waller shares how the Australian comparison site thrives using the channel-based messaging platform

This story is part of an ongoing series exploring how organizations are supporting remote work during the Covid-19 crisis. We hope these stories provide actionable tips and inspiration that organizations can use to make this transition a little bit smoother.

As a free comparison site, Finder helps 10 million unique monthly visitors make better consumer decisions about credit cards, phone plans, travel deals and much more. Based in Australia and founded in 2006, Finder has more than 400 team members with offices in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Poland and the Philippines.

Before Covid-19 swept the globe, about 40% of Finder’s global crew were distributed. Slack, the channel-based messaging platform, helped keep the entire company aligned and effective across time zones through:

  • Slack channels, a digital space for multiple people to share messages and files
  • Video-conferencing integrations such as Zoom and Skype
  • Facilitating real-time feedback and input necessary for Finder to scale globally

Like so many companies across the globe, Finder needed to go all-remote in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The health and safety of the Finder crew was a top priority, so the company made the decision early to pivot to remote work. The first day all Finder team members started working remotely, employees sent out 46,143 Slack messages—10,000 more than on any single day prior. Since then, Finder has seen a 62% increase in daily Slack activity overall.

We spoke with Joe Waller, Finder’s chief product and technology officer, to discuss the transformation and what’s been working for the company. Plus, some tips on how leaders can best support newly remote workforces.

Finder Joe Waller Slack customer story

“Slack has been a great solution for Finder’s transition to remote working, and has allowed us to continue guiding our customers and partners through this difficult time.”

Joe Waller
Finder’s chief product and technology officer

Use Slack channels and integrations for effective team communication

With an uptick in Slack messaging, Finder needed to establish efficient communication channels for groups to discuss projects without creating “noise” for those who didn’t need to be looped in. So Finder created specific Slack channels to sort the company’s Slack activity.

Each team at Finder starts the morning with a Zoom stand-up meeting to discuss priorities for the day. Using Workflow Builder, Finder created a workflow enabling the team to check in with what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and if there are any blockers. Finder also customised it with questions such as, ‘How are you feeling today?” Afterward, teams move the conversation into Slack channels and private messages for further collaboration.

Throughout the day, the Finder crew uses a number of Slack tools and integrations for seamless collaboration such as:

A number of Covid-19 specific channels have also been created to keep everyone updated on how the crisis is affecting the globe as well as Finder-specific projects, including:

  • #gx-coronavirus-content, where writers, publishers and PR teams share global coronavirus news updates, exchange ideas and point out useful resources
  • #core-app-launch-crew, a crucial Slack channel where coordination for the launch of the new Finder app took place, bringing together teams in marketing, PR, publishing and technology to provide key updates on bringing the app to market

“We continue to provide regular updates on the Covid-19 work-from-home situation via Slack,” says Waller. “We also hold a weekly ‘town hall’ every Tuesday morning with a companywide Zoom call during which leaders provide updates about the situation to the global Finder team.”

To ensure that teams have uninterrupted access to the right tools and platforms, Waller recommends creating a strategy centered around the following:

VPN access

“Work with your IT department to make this happen,” Waller says. “This will allow you inside your local network if your services aren’t supported by the public internet.”

Knowledge transparency

“Save everything to the cloud,” Waller says. “Files need to be easily accessed by everyone, especially when you can’t stop by someone’s desk to ask about them.”

Remote work best practices

“It’s been critical to continue to remind people of best practices on Slack, like muting notifications,” Waller says. “When deep focus time is needed, they can also turn on Do Not Disturb (DND) to pause notifications for as long as they need.”

Finder employees working in an office before going remote

Finder employees collaborating together in an office before going all-remote with Slack

Making space for human connection in Slack

While organizing projects in channels is key to effective collaboration at Finder, the social dimension of Slack has been critical for maintaining team morale. Some new channels that have popped up since the team went remote include:

  • #whatscooking, where teammates share what they’re whipping up in the kitchen that day
  • #solemates, a virtual walking club where people post photos of the solo adventures they’re taking during the day, encouraging teammates to get fresh air and take care of their health
  • #finderfitness, a wellness channel where coworkers share access to online fitness classes such as morning yoga or stretching, as well as schedules for future sessions
  • #driving-me-parental, a parenting channel where Finder parents share tips with each other about entertaining and schooling kids at home

“In terms of connectedness, Slack has become an integral part of Finder’s culture as we work in this new distributed way,” says Waller. He adds that direct messages have been a great replacement for colleagues’ one-on-one desk visits.

The team also gets a daily Slackbot reminder to share shoutouts in #thankyoucheers acknowledging each other’s hard work and achievements.

“Slack has provided a platform for the crew to share heartfelt and supporting messages to each other, which helps maintain motivation and morale in the face of uncertainty,” Waller says.

Finder also sends out a weekly survey that gauges how the team is feeling about working remotely, and allows employees to share feedback with leadership on topics ranging from their home office setup to their general well-being.

The most important elements to maintain during remote work, Waller says, are connection and targeted communication. Organizations need to ensure that information doesn’t get swallowed up in the new swell of digital activity. If everyone is receiving the messages they need—and can filter out the ones they don’t—then you’re well on your way to success with distributed teams.

“The ability to work and post across both public and private channels means we can have highly targeted information reaching the right people, at the right time,” Waller says. “Slack has been a great solution for Finder’s transition to remote working, and has allowed us to continue guiding our customers and partners through this difficult time.”

A photo illustration by Slack to accompany piece on remote work
Work remotely in Slack

Best practices and tips and tricks for getting the most out of work with channel-based messaging – regardless of your location.

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Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.