Community

How Common Uses Slack

Adapting enterprise software for our residential community.


Cole Kennedy has been a member at Common Pacific since October 2015. When he’s not at Common, he’s a copywriter at Handy. Cole loves discovering the best of New York City’s restaurants and bars, and really likes cold weather, truth be told.

Slack, if somehow you’ve avoided the near-universal adulation, is a software designed to make workplace communication easier. I was first introduced to it while I was an intern at Foursquare, and it blew me away. It manages to make workplace communication super efficient, but also, like, fun. Strange, I know.

Slack Chat: Jeremy & Mike

When I moved into Common, I was part of the first group of members. At the top of the list of things we knew we’d need to help our community interact was a tool to communicate with everyone else. Danielle Robin (Danny, to those of us in the house) kicked off the conversation. A few different ideas were tossed around, like GroupMe or a Facebook group, but we ultimately landed on Slack, and not so surprisingly, it’s been as wonderful for our community as it was for the office.

Community Chat

The most obvious use for Slack is regular old chat. Any number of messaging platforms would’ve been serviceable, but the level of flexibility with Slack really shines for us. We’ve set up various channels to facilitate different aspects of our community, from private channels for individual suites, up to neighborhood-level chats to find out what’s going on. We’ve also created channels for specific niches, like the Book Club (shameless plug – that’s my contribution!) and Film Nights (next up: a Wes Anderson double feature). As the community grows to more properties, like the recently opened Albany Flagship, Slack will help to keep people close without allowing one thread to spiral out of control.

Event-Planning

On occasion, the Common team will help arrange events for the community. These have ranged from sponsored trips to Daybreaker (I’m a morning person, but not that much of a morning person, so you’ll have to ask someone else about that) to nights out at Brooklyn Bowl (much more up my alley, and yes, pun intended). We’ve used Slack channels to plan each of these events, so we can avoid bothering people who aren’t going, and the channels are archived when the experience is but a sweet (or salty, in the case of Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken) memory.

Slack Brooklyn Bowl Conversation

Slackbot

If you haven’t heard, chatbots are big lately, and few are bigger than Slackbot. Slack allows teams to program Slackbot to respond with custom messages to keywords, so we’ve started setting it up to help with common queries. First on the list? “What’s the wifi password again?”

Slackbot conversation

Improving on a Universal Experience

Workplace communication is nothing new, but Slack took an innovative approach and upended it, taking something that had once been a massive pain and turning it into a piece of legitimate delight. That’s probably where Slack and Common align most: Slack is reinventing group communication for the 21st century, and Common wants to reinvent the housing rental experience for the 21st century. Want to join in on the fun, and maybe get your own custom Slack emoji? Fill out the application and one of the lovely people at Common HQ will be in touch.

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