Bots for better productivity

Bots for better productivity
Credit: marvent/Shutterstock
Slack is a powerful communication tool, but it can become overwhelming. If you're tagged repeatedly throughout the day, you might find yourself digging through a mountain of messages. Some users even decide to skip Slack for an entire day, checking it when they have more time.

Fortunately, there is a way to stay on top of the chaos. Bots in Slack are designed to do some of the legwork for you, reminding you about important tasks, integrating with email and automatically sorting them, and streamlining approvals so you don't have to keep bugging the boss.

What happens when you use these bots? In most cases, it means you can focus on communicating and chatting, less on messaging busywork. Here are our top picks that can make a difference in your work day.

BusyBot

BusyBot
Credit: BusyBot
One of the best Slack bots around, BusyBot is a task manager that is ultra-simple (and therefore ultra useful). You can assign tasks to anyone, which generates automated reminders. Using the BusyBot site, you can track all assigned tasks. The real value of this bot is in keeping everything centrally located in Slack, thus avoiding a separate app for tasks.

Polly

Polly
Credit: Polly
You might say there is life before Polly and life after. This bot helps you build consensus in an office in a way that seems fun and productive. With Polly, you can conduct a survey and customize the way it works – say, allowing users to add a multiple-choice option. The reason it works so well is that it cuts right to the chase, eliminating excess discussion about where to meet for the company picnic or who should be responsible for ordering coffee.

Astrobot

Astrobot
Credit: Astrobot
A slightly strange add-on to Slack, Astrobot is an attempt to add email to a collaborative chat environment – and it works. Astrobot is known more for their email app, but in Slack you can see the highest priority messages and respond to email directly. The AI is quite powerful, essentially watching which messages are most important and flagging them. One major bonus: To type a new email in Slack, you just type /email and start typing.

Workbot

Workbot
Credit: Workbot
Another source of irritation in any company: getting things approved. Say you run a social media platform. In Slack, you can run Workato's Workbot, add the text you want to post, and then the boss (or the person in charge of approvals) can accept or reject the post. It works for sales estimates, budgets, travel – just about anything. It saves time because you don't have to use a separate app or a spreadsheet to track whether something is approved.

Guru

Guru
Credit: Guru
Guru is another handy productivity booster, especially since it is so easy to use. The bot provides information automatically when someone asks a question, and you can access it using a simple emoji sign. The idea is to provide answers to questions like how to print to the copier or what an upcoming meeting is about. Users see a card that display the info they need. This boosts your workflow in Slack because you don't have to keep providing the same answers.