If you’re a regular Slack user, you’ve probably debated sending a message to another team member when you know it’s an inconvenient time. Your colleague may be in an important meeting, doing some heads-down work, or just sleeping because you’re located on the other side of the world! Nobody wants to be the annoying person pinging another for a non-urgent item when it’s just not a great time to hear from you.
Fortunately, Slack saw this challenge and came at it with a much-anticipated feature launch in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome status syncing capabilities from Reclaim.ai, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
What is Slack’s scheduled send feature?
Slack’s new scheduled send feature is as straightforward as it sounds: you can now schedule your Slack messages to be delayed and sent in the future. This is again ideal for messages that you need to send, but aren’t super urgent and do not require interrupting your colleague from their current priority.
So why is this important? Because it’s way too easy and disruptive to interrupt another at work. In fact, 71% of people report frequent interruptions when they’re working, and it’s having a serious impact on our sense of accomplishment. For people who are frequently interrupted, there’s only a 44% chance they’ll end the day feeling successful compared to 67% who were not frequently interrupted.
Frequent interruptions also have a massive impact on your productivity. Context switching between tasks and topics can greatly degrade your quality of work as your mind is only half-in, half-out on your last task. It usually takes over 20 minutes just to get back on track with a task after being interrupted, and since the average US worker is interrupted 13.7 times each day, that could mean half of your day is wasted literally scrambling between tasks and projects.
So, needless to say, this is a real challenge most modern workplaces face, especially as we all shift in and out of work from home or distributed work environments. But regardless, your company is probably busy, as all successful companies are, so it’s important to be respectful of everyone’s time and priorities. Slack’s new scheduled send feature is an awesome way to make that happen for your team.
Slack messaging sending etiquette
Communication is key for any productive team, and everyone has their own preferences for when, where, and how they like to receive messages. Here are some general guidelines around the do’s and don’ts for sending Slack messages across different scenarios:
Do send Slack messages if...
Unless it’s truly an emergency, try to only send messages during these times:
- Your team member is online (and it’s during their working hours)
- Your team member has no Slack status indicating they’re unavailable
- Your team member does not have “do not disturb” on
Don’t send Slack messages at these times…
Use scheduled send if any of the following are true:
- It’s late in the evening (for your team member) or after working hours
- Your team member is in a meeting
- Your team member is in a heads-down work session
- Your team member is on vacation
- Your team member is at a personal commitment like a doctors appointment
- Your team member is driving
There are dozens of more don’ts along these lines, but you get the general gist. Try to follow the Golden Rule when thinking about Slack communication -- in other words, ask yourself “How would I feel if I got messaged right now?”
Using Reclaim.ai’s Slack status sync to know when to send
After determining that now isn’t the right time to send a Slack message, you’ll want to identify the best time to schedule your message so it’s conveniently received. This is where Reclaim can help.
Reclaim is a free smart calendar tool for Google Calendar that automatically finds the best time in your schedule for your to-dos and routines, and merges your availability across all of your calendars. You’re also able to build buffer time around your events for traveling and breaks, automatically color-code your calendar, and analyze your calendar for productivity stats to see how much time you spend in meetings vs. heads-down time vs. free time.
If you’re a Slack user -- even if you don’t use all of Reclaim’s features -- you’ll definitely want to check out Reclaim’s Slack status sync feature. It automatically updates your Slack status based on your calendar so your team knows when you’re available (or not) to chat.
What’s awesome is that these are completely customizable by category, so you can decide which categories of events you want to sync your status to, and how you want those statuses to appear to others. You can also set “Do Not Disturb”, or DND, for certain events you need to add an additional level of distraction protection to.
Additionally, you can add Reclaim’s Zoom integration to auto-update your Slack status when you enter or leave a Zoom meeting, regardless of whether it’s on your calendar or the call ends early. There are many different options available, and you can learn more in Reclaim’s Slack status sync help doc or via the Reclaim Slack app.
For example, you could classify all meeting events to be as simple as “In a meeting” or add more context like “In a meeting - Strategy Session” where Reclaim will automatically pull in the title of the event. If you’re a private person or just have a “closed calendar” policy at your company, you can go with a blanket “Busy” Slack status for all of your events. But as a general rule, the more context you share around your work and priorities, the more likely you’ll be able to defend your time from interruptions.
Reclaim also automatically sets your Slack status to start and end based on events from your calendar, so people can look at your status and know exactly when you're going to be freed up. So, if you are in a meeting from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, your status would end with “until 1:00 pm”. This is where the magic comes in for using Reclaim alongside Slack's scheduled send feature.
Slack scheduled sends + Reclaim.ai status sync
Now that we’ve covered Reclaim’s status sync feature as well as Slack’s scheduled send feature, let’s put them together! It’s just as easy as any other scheduled message in Slack, with just a little extra awareness around your colleagues time:
Drafting your Slack message for a scheduled send
- Go to the team member you want to message to in Slack
- Draft the message per usual
- Check your team members status by hovering over their username in the left menu
- Note the Reclaim status and duration to see when they’re back online
- Click the arrow icon to the right of the send icon to pick a future time and/or date to send
- Schedule your Slack message to deliver in the future!
Pro tip: if you want to bring more visibility to this feature in your team to help everyone take advantage of timing their sends, use this starter for your next message:
Hey - using Slack’s scheduled send so I don’t disturb you [overnight/in your meeting/while you’re busy] - [your message]
And that’s it! Simple, effective, and much appreciated. Your team members will love you more than ever, and hopefully you can make it a habit across the team so everyone has more time and attention for their priorities and a better work-life balance!
Have you started using Slack scheduled sends yet with Reclaim? We want to hear about it! Shoot us a tweet at @reclaimai and let us know how it’s working for you and your team.