Coming soon: New tools to streamline work and boost productivity

Preview upcoming Slack features including Shared Channels on Enterprise Grid, Workflow Builder and deeper integrations with your everyday work tools

Illustrations of people collaborating at work
Image Credit: Skinny Ships

Work today is more complex, more global and ever-more demanding. We grapple with overflowing inboxes, dig for urgent messages buried beneath mundane notifications and confront a growing list of new software tools to learn. Our attention is fragmented. Information lives in multiple silos. All of this makes it difficult to stay aligned and productive.

That’s why we’re introducing a host of new features today designed to break down these barriers and make it easier for organizations and people to react, adjust and regain forward momentum in response to changing conditions and new business priorities.

Here are our upcoming features, as showcased at our 2019 Frontiers conference this afternoon:

  • Shared Channels beta. Shared Channels is expanding to Enterprise Grid customers starting this summer, which means you will be able to collaborate with customers, vendors, agencies and any other external partners who help move your business ahead—all within your own Slack workspaces.
  • Workflow Builder. Imagine a world where you can create customized, secure automation without knowing a single line of code. That’s our new Workflow Builder. It streamlines manual processes for you, your team and your entire organization, saving time and money.
  • Email + Calendars + Slack. To keep teams coordinated, we’re continuing to build bridges between your most important work tools. Say you’ve invited new hires to your Slack workspace, but they haven’t joined yet. No need to fret, they’ll receive Slack messages and mentions in their email. And with intelligent meeting time suggestions, no need to play endless calendar Tetris when trying to schedule a quick meeting.
  • Expanded search. A spiffy new update to search in Slack turns it into your universal navigation hub, making it easier for you to see unread channels and direct messages, and look up channels, documents and people.

Here’s more about what’s in store.

Shared Channels beta comes to Enterprise Grid this summer

Slack's Shared Channels beta is coming to customers on Enterprise Grid this summer.

Shared Channels connects teams in separate organizations in Slack in their own native workspace. This allows agencies, customers, vendors and many others to collaborate with you using all the same benefits and functionality that channels bring to your internal teams. Both organizations can share plans, ideas and files seamlessly and securely.

When to expect it: Starting this summer we’re expanding Shared Channels as a beta for our Enterprise Grid customers, enabling organizations of any size to take advantage of this new way of working.

Workflow Builder: automate routine tasks without coding

An image of our new Workflow Builder: A tool in Slack that allows you to easily automate processes, no coding knowledge required. Here we show a simple form that surfaces useful information.

Manual tasks such as handling budget approvals or setting up new hires can add up to significant organizational drag. Coming soon, Workflow Builder will let you automate these processes in Slack, without writing a single line of code—saving your team and employees valuable time.

These workflows, once activated, include steps like filling out simple forms to gather information and automatically posting into channels or direct messages of your choosing. You could automate:

  • A self-service form for any benefits requests from HR
  • A survey for employees planning to visit your New York office
  • A welcome message full of tips that is automatically sent whenever someone joins a specific channel

With Workflow Builder, your team will be able to create time-saving processes like these in just a few minutes.

When to expect it: We’ll be rolling this out later this year. If you’re interested in previewing the product, sign up here to be added to the waitlist for the pilot program.

Bring your everyday tools inside Slack

A big part of our vision for Slack is to create a platform that integrates seamlessly with whatever other tools and software you’ve carefully chosen for your teams.

But no matter your industry or role, there are two tools (besides Slack) you likely use every workday: email and calendar. Switching between these tools can disrupt focus and hinder productivity, which is why we’re building new features to integrate them within your Slack workspace.

Connect with everyone you work with—using email and Slack

Joining a Slack workspace doesn’t mean leaving all email behind. That’s why we recently released Microsoft Outlook and Gmail add-ins. These add-ins allow you to forward important emails (along with attachments) directly into Slack, where your team can coordinate and discuss how to respond.

An example of how Slack integrates with Microsoft Outlook so you can keep better tabs on your communication.

When to expect it: No need to wait, it’s already here. Learn more about the suite of Google and Office 365 tools that Slack supports here.

Leave no team member behind: bridging email and Slack

An illustration of how Slack connects with email so that Slack users and non-Slack users can maintain consistent communication.

We’ve also built a bridge between email and Slack so you can maintain consistent communication with everyone at your organization.

Let’s say you’ve just invited a new hire to Slack, but she hasn’t had a chance to join yet. When she’s mentioned by username in channels or sent a direct message, Slack will route those messages into her email inbox so she doesn’t miss out on important information while getting set up. If the invited member decides to join Slack, she will have the full history of the direct messages and channel mentions that were sent to email.

When to expect it: We’ve started rolling this out and it will be available to all over the next few months.

In the future, we’ll be adding the ability for people to reply right from their email inbox, with their response posting back to Slack. Stay tuned on that front.

Smarter calendar integrations

The buck doesn’t stop at email. We’re also taking a similar approach to integrating more of your daily productivity tools such as your calendar.

We’ve recently added new integrations for Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar that help you stay on top of your schedule right from Slack. You’ll receive new invites in Slack and be able to respond to them and even join conference calls.

You can also sync your Outlook Calendar with your Slack status so people know when you are “in a meeting,” “working remotely” or “out of office.” (Status sync is coming soon for Google Calendar too.)

Soon you'll be able to automatically sync your status in Slack with your favorite calendar

Smart meeting suggestions are another good example. In the future, when someone says something like, “Let’s meet tomorrow and discuss,” Slack will chime in and recommend setting up that meeting right away. And from that prompt, you’ll be able to create a calendar invite directly from Slack, and quickly find a time to meet. Voilà: that’s one less thing to add to your to-do list.

GIF showing how to create an event in Google Calendar

When to expect it: We’ll be rolling these out later in the year. Stay tuned for more news here on our blog or connect with us on Twitter @slackhq.

These types of integrations tie multiple workflows together, significantly improving the interoperability of the tools you use at your organization while also extending the value of your existing IT investments.  

One spot for all things search

Search in Slack received yet another upgrade: Now it shows both search results for channels, files and people as well as a list of unread messages and DMs to help you navigate to the information you need faster.

Work gets more complex the more people (and messages) you add to the mix. So we’ve leveled up search in Slack to make it even easier to flit between the channels, direct messages and documents that you need.

A quick tap on your keyboard ( + k on Mac or ctrl + k on Windows or Linux) or a click into the upper-left search box will soon be your universal navigation hub within Slack. You’ll be able to:

  • Find a handy list of unread channels and direct messages
  • Quickly navigate to channels, files and people you work with regularly
  • Search through the archives and swiftly dig up discussions and materials that you need to reference

Altogether, this means less time spent scouring for information and more time spent moving projects forward.

When to expect this: We’re on it! This one’s rolling out to everyone in the coming weeks.

More than 10 million people rely on Slack each day to communicate across teams, manage files and company knowledge, and connect the software they use every day. These new features—Shared Channels, Workflow Builder, richer integrations with email and calendars, and one-stop search—are the kind of major enhancements that give members of your team more time to do their best work together.

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The following information is intended for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and not as a binding commitment. Please do not rely on this information in making your purchasing decisions. The development, release and timing of any products, features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of Slack, and are subject to change.

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.