If you're a remote worker in the UK, then Slack should be at the top of your list. It is the most popular remote collaboration tool for small businesses, enterprises, managers, agencies and remote teams.
And while it was already popular, the pandemic accelerated its acceptance when people started flocking toward remote working.
But Slack on its own isn’t as helpful as some of the extensions that you can find from its App Directory. Once integrated, these apps allow you to better automate your workflow and skyrocket productivity.
But if you visit the Slack App Directory now, you’d find over 2,000 apps. Which ones do you need to manage your remote work?
In this post, we will be sharing top slack apps for remote work in the UK.
Remote working: Top 10 stats of the UK
In a population of over 67 million inhabitants, more than 32.5 million people were part of the workforce. Out of these, more than 5.6 million work remotely. Here are top 10 remote working stats for the UK in 2021:
- Percentage of remote workers in the UK increased from 14.2% in 2019 to 17.4% in 2020.
- Only 11% of UK workers preferred working remotely full time before the pandemic, a number which increased to 57% by 2021.
- 71% of managers were surprised to see productivity of remote workers.
- Remote working saves an average of 1 hour in daily commutes.
- Nearly half of the British workforce is still working from home.
- 85% of remote workers prefer a hybrid office-home approach.
- 70% of all Britons are never likely to return to office.
- 56% of all Britons believe that working from home is a blessing for women in the remote workforce.
- 34% of the UK remote workforce believes that a hybrid working model helps in improving mental health.
- 36% of people want to exclusively work from home even after the pandemic is over.
What are the biggest challenges of remote work?
Ignoring the benefits of remote working is hard, yet there are a number of obstacles while working from home.
Globally and in the UK, employers need to embrace this radical change and come up with creative solutions for challenges linked with remote working.
Here are some of the most pressing problems that need to be tackled right away:
1. Isolation and anxiety
Humans are hardwired to live, work, and socialise with others. In short, we are social animals and need each other for our survival.
According to the Health and Safety Excellence (HSE), the regulatory body overlooking labour safety practices in the UK, a lone worker is defined as someone “who works by themselves without closed or direct supervision.”
The lack of an office environment, coupled with working in isolation often leads to anxiety, depression and psychological issues in the long run. HSE has issued a number of guidelines to employers on specifically addressing mental health and fitness of their employees.
One way to resolve this issue is a hybrid model where colleagues can mingle, chit chat and work together at least once a week either at company office, or a mutually decided location such as co-working spaces.
2. Cybersecurity challenges - using unsanctioned software
In an office environment, the IT Department is responsible for ensuring safety, and security of devices and software.
This includes installing the latest antivirus solutions, and limiting access to workers on the company's servers. All of this is done to avoid any catastrophic damage resulting from cybersecurity attacks.
Now that work has gone remote, the IT gurus are left scrambling to provide the same level of security and safety. With employees using unsecured home/cafe WiFi networks on personal laptops, it dramatically increases the risks of ransomware attacks.
To avert these risks,only use corporate laptops through secure remote desktop protocols and never open links to suspicious-looking emails.
3. Company culture
The same company culture of perks such as free coffee, food, and ping pong, will be absent while working from home. one way to tackle this is through collaboration tools such as Slack, and using Zoom for live video meetings.
4. Longer working hours
You didn’t like your 9-to-5 job?
Instead of waking up at 8 am and commuting to the office, you can now work within the comfort of your home wearing pyjamas and munching on your favourite snacks.
But now you are actually working longer than usual, with on and off meetings and a tiring work schedule. Eventually you find yourself working for as long as 12 hours everyday, without getting compensated for extra time.
This is a harsh reality for a number of remote workers in the UK.
In a survey of 8,301 professionals, more than 50% of remote workers in the UK find themselves working for longer hours than before the pandemic. This can be anywhere between 5 to 20 hours extra every week.
After all, it takes a toll on your mental and physical health, severely limiting your output as a remote worker.
Why use Slack apps for remote work?
There are a number of reasons why you should use Slack apps for remote work:
Slack apps allow you to better automate workflow, increase collaboration and improve productivity.
Google and Microsoft office files can be edited without switching from the main interface.
Reduces the need of jumping from one window to another, therefore reducing the distraction
It minimises the cognitive load, allowing the team to perform many tasks in a familiar UI rather than going to different apps for different tasks
Easier user onboarding and collaboration
Unified and secure communication, and notifications all at one place
Boosts team engagement and morale to alleviate loneliness while working from home.
Top Slack Apps for Remote Work
We picked some of the best Slack apps for remote work in various categories. Lets dive in!
Improving team engagement
One of the best parts of office life is the ability to celebrate shared wins with your teammates.
While remote work makes it challenging, apps like Disco make it easy to share your team’s accomplishments on a dashboard within Slack and boost team morale.
It’s super intuitive to use and you can measure team engagement across 10 employee engagement drivers.
Other apps like Nectar, Bonusly, Assembly, and Evergreen offer the same essential benefits with slightly different functionality.
Free plan?: Unavailable, but offers a 30-day free trial.
Hanging out with colleagues for a coffee is quite refreshing after an exhausting day. But what if you’re shy and not able to express your feelings?
Donut solves this problem concept by introducing virtual coffees, donuts and other snacks on your Slack. It introduces strangers from different departments and encourages them to meet in person or virtually, even on a 15-minute Slack call.
More than 15,000 companies including Zapier and InVision have used Donut to generate 6 million+ interactions on Slack so far. In a nutshell, it tends to reduce boredom and ensures your communication is fun, exciting and rewarding on Slack.
Free plan?: Yes, a free for life plan exists that supports up to 24 users in one round, 12 intros per round, and 12 watercooler topics.
Office productivity & scheduling management
With more and more workers going remote, offices are getting vacant and people are having a hard time booking them to work. With Buka, you can instantly accept or reject bookings based on your office space all while you’re busy working on your projects.
It allows you to remain hassle-free by not worrying about spreadsheets, emails or other links. All information about bookings is instantly viewable within Slack as follows:
You can change booking time, view who’s inside the office and make changes through the Slack mobile or desktop app.
Free plan?: Free for life plan with up to 10 users per month, then $0.95 per user, per month.
With an ever complex, remote-hybrid working model, time-tracking, and attendance have all become quite a challenge for HR managers.
Without jumping out of Slack, here is what your teammates can do using AttendanceBot:
Punch time in and time out.
View timesheet of the day.
Time tracking of the entire day whether in or out of office.
Plan shift planning with a super intuitive interface.
Induce a winning team culture and celebrate winnings whenever achievements are made.
No excel sheets, emails or documents are required. Everything works with simple in and out commands. Here’s an example:
Free plan?: No free plan. Minimum package costs $5 per user per month.
Health & wellbeing
While working for long hours staring at a screen, it eventually starts taking a toll on our physical health. Here are some health and wellness Slack app integrations that you can use to keep yourself fresh and energetic all the time:
Appreciation goes a long way in motivating your teammates to continue performing better and delivering stellar results. Karma tends to do just that by ensuring your team is motivated, appreciated and rewarded on their performance, specifically in a remote work environment. Here’s a screenshot that demonstrates how it can be done:
You can try the demo by visiting their website and typing in the commands. Here is what the Karma Chat app can do:
Share feedback on the go.
Appreciate employee performance and reward them.
Collect anonymous feedback.
Get historical analysis of team performance.
Free plan?: Yes, a free pricing plan with unlimited users, and limited karma. The pricing starts at $25 for up to 19 employees with unlimited karma, leaderboards, etc.
It is a well-known fact that gratitude increases a sense of accomplishments, satisfaction and mental peace. We have all heard about and even exercised the concept of gratitude journals, where we write about all the blessings that we have.
Gratitude, a sleek and simple Slack app, brings this to a digital environment. Once installed, it creates a new channel where everyday from Monday to Friday, a new gratitude message is posted. The dates and times can be changed in the app settings.
Free plan?: No paid version, but comes with a 14-day free trial.
If there is one thing that all Slack apps address, it would be loneliness and depression while working remotely. Gratitudely, and Donut tend to achieve the same as BanterBot.
BanterBot is all about achieving a fun way to reconnect with your team virtually. It focuses on eliminating boredom by continuously increasing engagement from teammates.
Here are some examples of icebreakers that will fire according to the schedule:
Free plan?: Free as long as in Beta mode.
One of the biggest disadvantages of continuously sitting and working for long hours is deteriorating health. Obesity has been rising since the start of the COVID19 pandemic.
Desk Yogi aims to solve this problem by reminding you to take breaks with health and wellness/fitness videos. The Desk Yogi has a library of short, 2-3 minute videos focused specifically on improving productivity while working remotely.
Here is a snapshot of one of their libraries, where all the videos are set out in specific categories:
You tell your custom fitness goals to Desk Yogi, which then creates a custom playlist for you.
Free plan?: No free plan. Starts from $15 per month per user.
Meeting & call integrations
What’s the point of remote working when there are no meetings? Listed below are some of the most common tools to conduct interrupt meetings.
Launched in 2011, it wasn’t until pandemic when people realised the true potential and powers of Zoom. When it comes to video conferences, no software even comes close to the quality and features that Zoom offers.
Everything from online classes to office meetings have been taking place on Zoom. The free extension automatically integrates in Slack and you can start a meeting with the click of a button.
Free plan?: Free for up to 100 participants, and up to 40-minute calls.
We all have at some point used Google Calendar, a free calendar app that syncs with your Google account and updates events, reminders, meetings in real-time across all your devices.
leverage the true powers of Google calendar by enabling the free Slack extension. Here is what it does:
Create events from Slack that automatically sync with your account.
Auto sync calendar to Slack status.
Get notified through reminders before your Slack meeting/conference.
Get alerts on when details of your Slack meetings change.
Free plan?: Always free
We all understand the importance of text messages, but what happens where there’s something important to share and words aren’t enough to describe?
Enter Loom, the fun and exciting way for video messaging.
Want to convey an important message and unable to express it in words? No worries. Go ahead and make a short loom video. Without quitting Slack, record screencast videos with your headshot, and crisp clear audio to better iterate your message.
Install the Loom app in Slack, and type in /loom record to initiate recording from Slack.
Once finished, you will see the recording as follows:
Free plan?: Up to 5-minute recording limit, and a total of 10 videos.
Virtual meetings aren’t always quite the same as face-to-face, personal meetings. At one time, people start getting annoyed without any personal connection.
Standuply has a brilliant plan to minimise this gap. It is an all-in-one Bot for stand-up meetings, surveys, Slack polls, text/voice/video answers and retrospectives.
In short, it tends to automate the entire process so that you can save your time and focus on things that matter the most.
Here is a short example of how the Standuply app works:
Free plan?: Limited features with automation, and Q&A system for 3 users. Pricing starts at $5 per month for every 3 users.
Productivity Slack apps
Productivity apps improve and automate your workflow, save precious time, and skyrocket productivity. Here are some of the most popular productivity slack apps in 2022:
Zapier is an extremely powerful, simple and no-code method of automating your workflow and integrating Slack with thousands of apps to save you time and effort. Here are some of the apps and workflow automations that it supports:
Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc.)
Zapier calls automated workflows as zaps, which you can set up within minutes, all of which can be easily monitored right within Slack.
Free plan?: A free forever plan comes with just 5 zaps, but up to 100 workflow automations every month.
During classrooms or board room meetings, the instructor would usually draw maps, objects and illustrate topics on a whiteboard. But how is that even remotely possible while working remotely?
That’s the problem that Miro tends to solve! Miro is an amazing, and super intuitive whiteboard that takes your collaboration with your team on a whole new level.
This is Slack’s official email service where you receive an email address that you can use to subscribe to different services for notifications.
Emails you receive on this address will pop up in your Slack channels. There are a number of ways this can be used:
Get company’s support messages received from the website on the support channel.
RSS fees and notifications from service providers can be seen in dedicated channels.
A great way to remain anonymous and continue getting updates without getting annoyed.
Free plan?: Only available on the Slack Standard Plan or above.
Automate is the next best alternative to Zapier, that helps you to integrate apps and automate your entire workflow to save precious hours of your hard work, time and effort. Here are just some of the apps that it supports:
Social Media platforms
Similar to Zaps in Zapier, Automate has Bots.
Free plan?: Up to 5 Bots, and 300 workflows each month.