Asynchronous communication on Slack

Slack can be both a synchronous and an asynchronous communication tool. It depends on how you use it.


What is the difference?

Asynchronous communication means that you have clear rules about what is expected. For example,  how fast people should answer requests on a daily basis and what people should do when an instant reaction is needed. 

If you are not a firefighter, the fast reaction shouldn’t be your job. Yes, things happen, but most work-related activities should be planned and need your focus and concentration. Clear communication rules allow teams to plan their day,  have more time to think through and be more constructive with their answers. 

Here are some of the Slack rules that we use at The Remote Company

Update your Slack profile

  • Include your telephone number. We use it if something urgent happens.

  • Add a short paragraph ‘How to work with me’. Do you like small talk, emojis, and gifs? Do you prefer calls, emails or Slack messages? When should people expect your reply? Read more about “How to work with me” in the manual.

  • Your Slack status should show your location so people know your time zone E.g. 🇲🇽 Working from Mexico City

Adjust your Slack status

  • You're encouraged to do focus work throughout the day. Please set a Do not disturb status then and add the time you will be back, e.g. ⛔ Focus work until 4 PM LT time

  • The same applies when you are on a food or coffee break, e.g. 🍒 Lunch until 2 PM LT time

  • If you're on vacation, update your status with the date you're due back, e.g. 🌴 Vacationing till Aug 3rd

Organize your Slack

  • Star ⭐ the channels connected to your team and the ones you use the most.

  • Mute the channels not essential for you right now.

  • Everyone can create a new channel. It’s better to have more channels with specific topics. This way it’s easier for team members to search for the information they need. If you see too many topics in one channel, separate them.

  • When you create a new Slack channel, announce it in the #general channel and add it to the list below.

  • For more structure, add sections and organize channels based on product name and topics.

Communicate clearly on Slack

  • Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. People no longer interested in the topic can easily leave the channel. People in the channel are interested in the topic.

  • If you mention something (a merge request, issue, commit, webpage, comment, etc.) please include a link.

  • If you plan to resolve an issue, give a deadline and come back with feedback if something changes or you’ve resolved the issue.