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How Remote Teams at Trello use Slack + Atlassian

Remote work is becoming increasingly desirable and almost expected, Zapier recently confirmed in its remote work report. In fact, the percentage of people in the United States who work remotely full-time has increased 159 percent from 2017 to 2019. Not only do employees find that working remotely allows for more productivity, but having the freedom to work from anywhere in the world increases flexibility and does wonders for work-life balance. With remote work emerging as a new normal across companies of all sizes, there are now more tools and best practices than ever that help teams engage productively across a remote workforce. 

Trello, for one, is a visual collaboration tool accessible to tech and non-tech teams alike, and can help manage projects and organize information among geographically diverse cohorts. It’s especially useful for remote teams because its customizable interface accommodates many different workflows, including scrum and kanban. Teams can give status updates, receive instant notifications when a board has been updated, and collaborate on with other coworkers in real time – from anywhere in the world. Participants can even work offline and pick up their automatically saved work once they’re back online. 

Atlassian, Trello, and remote work

Well before joining Atlassian, the Trello team had fully embraced remote work, and they continue to successfully run their teams remotely. Their philosophy hinges on fully embracing a remote-working culture, and has helped shape a renowned product with 50 million users worldwide. Many Trello team members are based in New York City, but the rest are distributed all over the world. "We believe that not being limited by physical locations allows us to hire the best candidate for the position. Hiring the best candidates, no matter where they sit, has allowed us to build the best product we can,” says Carrie Marvin, Senior Recruiter for Atlassian.

Leah Ryder, the Content Marketing Lead on the Trello team, is based in Victoria, B.C. with teammates in New York and Brazil. “I am thrilled to work at Atlassian because of how strongly the company supports remote work and how we are able to hire the best candidate regardless of geography,” Leah says.  “I am grateful to be able to work from anywhere with a team all across the world.” Thanks to remote work, she’s able to maximize her productivity, and feels fully in charge of her day. For example, instead of commuting, she takes her dog for a leisurely walk each morning, and can attend a yoga class immediately after her work day ends.

However, Leah acknowledges that challenges can arise when teams are fully remote. Not being in the same time zone can be tricky when juggling projects. Another challenge, she points out, is team culture. Since team members do not see each other on a regular basis, everyone has to be conscious to work extra hard to keep up emotional bonds with one another. 

To overcome these challenges, Leah’s team has adopted technology tools that help them move workflows forward and stay in sync. The integrations her team uses the most often are Slack and Trello, which work seamlessly together. 

The Slack and Trello Power Up is one integration that Leah and her team use often.

slack and trello power up.pngslack and trello power up 2.png

With the Slack Power-Up on Trello, teams can share information and solicit feedback by sending cards directly from Trello to a Slack user or channel. Team members can also receive Trello reminders in Slack, or set reminders for another teammate so that no important tasks are forgotten. Slack conversations can also be attached to Trello cards, so there is always context behind each card.

Another integration Leah’s team uses heavily is the Trello app for Slack. While the Power-Up serves as a “link” between the two integrations, the Trello app acts as a bot assistant that helps automate tasks. With the app, users can join Trello boards directly from Slack, use Slack commands (“/Trello”), and assign users directly to Trello cards from Slack.

slack and trello 3.png

For example, Leah’s team has a Slack channel where team members can pitch ideas for the Trello blog. They can create Trello cards directly from Slack, and attach a Slack conversation to the pitch, logging those pitches on the go. The editorial team can then review the pitches in Trello at their weekly editorial meeting and provide feedback on the card, tagging the original contributor.

The editorial team also logs everything they accomplished during the week in Trello. This information is then piped automatically into a Slack channel. All team members are notified with updates in real time, so nobody has to curate email updates.

Not only do these integrations save time, but they’ve allowed the Trello team to move forward on projects when individuals are out of the office, thanks to rich context through Slack attachments. Together, Slack and Trello consolidate and surface information in real time, so no one misses an update.

Remote Work Best Practices

As more companies embrace remote work, the challenges of building a team culture will improve as awareness of remote-best practices grows. As managers are often the drivers of company culture, it’s up to them to set a good example of inclusivity for remote workers.

Stella Garber, Head of Marketing for Trello, leads a team of 15 employees dispersed throughout the United States, and in Brazil and Spain. To manage the culture of a remote team successfully, she explains that it’s necessary to have structure and processes set in place that in-office teams may normally take for granted. “The team needs to be more thoughtful in establishing a remote team culture, and there need to be rituals and practices that help us feel connected on a human level. It can be easy to only talk about work due dates and projects with people. Our team has rituals like creating remote hangout sessions and fun Slack channels to ensure that people are connecting outside of just sending work requests to one another. We ask ourselves, ‘what is the digital analog equivalent to a hallway conversation or a happy hour?’ and will emulate it.”  When there are remote workers dialing into a team video call, all participants should dial in from their own computers to mitigate the risk of one group of people talking over others.

Organizing regular offsites is another important way to maintain a healthy remote-first culture. , Trello ensures their offsites are a good mix of work and fun, knowing it is crucial for those who don’t see each other regularly to build memories and bond. 

It’s also important to have routine conversations about how a team’s digital tools are being used. People communicate in tools differently which can be distracting; a message might be sent in Slack when Trello or email might have been a better option. To mitigate this, Stella’s team has established hard and fast rules. “If a conversation will take longer than two minutes, we switch to Zoom,” she says. (There is even a Trello bot for Zoom, which connects Zoom chats to Trello cards to capture meeting notes and to-dos.) Overall, tools that the team uses, like Slack and Trello, have been crucial for both team bonding and work purposes.

Slack + Trello, Slack + Atlassian integrations
It’s undeniable that remote work has many benefits. Remote workers save time by not commuting (plus, not being trapped on a crowded bus or train during flu season can spare quite a few sick days), and reduce their carbon footprint. Trello is able to hire the best candidates to build the best product they can while enabling employees to be in charge of their own work schedules. With more industries embracing remote work, employees can turn to tools like Slack and Trello to stay up to date, in constant communication with their team members, and build team culture. 

Learn more about the integrations
Learn more about Trello for Slack and the Slack Trello Power-Up. To learn more about more integrations Atlassian and Slack have together, visit the Atlassian Marketplace




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