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ASU Faculty + Staff Closing the Distance with Slack

BY TETTLEMA – MARCH 25, 2020

by Jackie Porter, UTO Portfolio Manager

Read more Remote Resilience stories.

As ASU continues to monitor COVID-19, the university has transitioned from in-person teaching and learning to remote options. In this challenging time, however, the collective innovation of ASU faculty and staff has demonstrated remarkable adaptability. As a method of celebrating the good during uncertain developments, the University Technology Office is gathering success stories of “remote resilience” from the ASU community. The situation globally and across the country is changing daily, but we also plan to share these stories to keep pace.

ASU staff are helping students and faculty to fully integrate online experiences while they have also been transitioning to a remote modality. With this shift, activities such as coffee breaks, lunches or desk visits have been curtailed. What does a social office do in such situations? We turn to Slack.

While Slack was used by different groups at ASU as early as 2014, it was officially adopted by UTO in 2017 and deployed to the entire university in 2019. The tool’s main purpose is to provide a way for teams to quickly relay messages and get work related questions resolved. However, from the beginning, group channels have been created for “extracurricular” communications.

One example has been the “UTO Pets” channel. The channel is a place for employees to post pictures of pets and share pet advice. While the channel had a steady stream of messages previously, it jumped in popularity when staff were advised to work remotely. 

In addition to already established channels, new ones have been created. Some channels help with immediate support questions. But importantly as well, other channels have been created to help maintain a sense of community among staff and to share successes. Colleagues have made sure to keep in touch via the “UTO Connections” channel, while parents working remotely are sharing their experiences in “Remote Working-Live Parenting.”

And members of the entire ASU community have been sharing their success stories in this difficult time in “Silver Linings Playbook,” a primary source for the Remote Resilience series. With these Slack channels, staff have been able to trade photos and advice on dealing with the current situation, providing a much-needed sense of community even while working apart.

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