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Why Using Slack Is Good For My Company But Even Better For My Family

The following was syndicated from Labs By Earth People for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].

Everything changed for the better when we started using Slack at work. We’ve made countless custom integrations; doorbells, intercoms, travel cards, reddit, lunch menus, git hooks, server monitoring, you name it — we have it.

My family has been using Google Calendar for a few years. My wife and I used to think that we we’re busy every night and that there was no room for improvisation. Google Calendar showed us that we had lots of free evenings and weekends, which has been great.

When it was time to evaluate a group chat app, I saw no reason to use HipChat, Skype or anything like that. Slack to the rescue!

The kids will probably start to question this eventually, but it works for now.

Slack’s free tier gives us 10 integrations, search for the latest 10,000 messages and 5GB storage. This is plenty for a family of 4. We use channels just the same way we use them at work. “Fixahuset” is a channel for stuff that needs to be fixed around the house, “general” is important stuff, “handla” is for picking up milk on the way home, “mathem” is an integration i’ll get to in a bit, and “random” is the usual cat GIF mayhem we’ve all learned to love/hate. “Pedertest” is where I test new integrations.

Integration #1: Where Are The Kids?
We, as most parents to 10-year-old kids, ask this question daily — we think we’re picking them up at school, but they’re at a friend’s house, etc. This is a custom Slackbot command calls out to my server, whic runs a little curl script that calls out to “Find My iPhone” and returns a static GoogleMaps image. The kids will probably start to question this eventually, but it works for now.


My Family Uses Slack And Google Calendar

Integration #2: Google Calendar
Our old Google Calendar integrates very smoothly, just hook it up and let Slack know when you want the notifications.

My Family Uses Slack And Google Calendar

Integration #3: School Information
It turns out our school is living in the future, providing an RSS-feed per child. I had no idea. RSS works very well with this setup.

My Family Uses Slack And Google Calendar

Integration #4: Online Food Shopping
In Sweden, MatHem is one of the biggest e-commerce sites for groceries. We use them for a weekly delivery, and it works great. The night before delivery we generally take 10 minutes and cram everything we can come up with into our cart, which means that we miss a lot of essentials. What if we could add juice to our cart throughout the week, the moment when someone realize that we’re out of juice?

My Family Uses Slack And Google Calendar

This integration is not kosher at all, and I’m probably breaking some terms and conditions. But we need this, and it could be done, so we did. If you work at MatHem and are offended by this in any way – please let me know and I’ll cease and desist.

That’s all the stuff we’ve got now, but more to come. Applying tactics from work to family life may seem cold, but I see this as a way to make the most out of our time. It’s not like we’re writing Jira stories or planning our vacation in Trello. Yet.

Peder Fjällström is the CEO of Earth People, a company that enjoys making both normal and paranormal digital productions.

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