Time Management
How to Set Working Hours in Slack

How to Set Working Hours in Slack

Alyssa Towns
August 16, 2023
Updated on:

How to Set Working Hours in Slack
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Teams of all shapes and sizes, including almost 80 of the Fortune 100, love and use Slack every day. With daily active users in 150+ countries and 200k+ paid users, it’s clear that Slack is a tool that adds an immeasurable value to the working world. 

Like many things, there can be “too much” of a good thing. When it comes to Slack, it’s easy to use on laptops, desktops, and cell phones. And without proper boundaries and discipline, drawing the lines between work and non-work time can be challenging.

If you’ve ever found yourself “quickly checking Slack” during off-the-clock hours, you’re — normal and certainly not alone. I frequently found myself part of this camp before learning to protect my time and silence pesky notifications.

In this post, you’ll learn how to set your working hours in Slack, convey your availability (or lack thereof) during the workday, and customize Slack to meet your work-life balance needs. 

How do I set working hours in Slack?

In the growing world of distributed remote work, workers must prioritize and take accountability for setting boundaries between their professional and personal lives. Slack is a great collaboration tool for conversations and check-ins throughout the workday. Still, if you have the app on multiple devices (like your personal cell phone), checking and responding to Slack messages can be tempting when you aren’t working.

To strike a finer balance between your workday and off-the-clock hours, you can set your working hours in Slack and pause notifications during your off-the-clock time to help resist the temptation. Here’s what you can do:

1. Open Slack and click your profile picture in the top right. Select “Preferences.”

slack preferences

2. Under “Notifications,” scroll down to the “Notification schedule” section. 

slack notifications

3. Select one of three options: Every day, Weekdays, or Custom. 

If you want to apply your notification schedule to the entire week, select the “Every day” option. This option includes weekends.

If you only want to receive notifications on weekdays during the same period, select the “Weekdays” option. 

If you need to create a custom schedule, we’ll show you how later in the post! 

4. Choose your preferred start and end time for notifications or your working hours — where colleagues can reach you.

I’m not particularly eager to receive notifications before I’m ready to start my workday so I can enjoy my morning routine without distraction. And even though I generally log off the computer around 4:00 pm local time most days, I keep my notifications on for an extra hour and let coworkers know they can reach me via phone if needed. 

I also prefer not to receive notifications on the weekends. Here’s how I set my schedule to reflect these preferences:

working hours in slack

Some other availability sharing pro-tips:

  • Use Clockwise to automatically sync your Slack status with your calendar. Clockwise automatically updates your Slack status and enables Do Not Disturb whenever you’re in a meeting, in Focus Time, OOO, or outside of working hours.
  • Pause notifications during your lunch break and other breaks throughout the day so you can fully reset and recharge without distraction.
  • Set your timezone in your profile (and update your timezone if you plan to work from a different location, so Slack knows when to pause notifications based on where you are).

slack status update
working hours in slack

Can I set a status schedule on Slack?

While setting your working hours is helpful, you won’t always be available every hour of the workday. Between meetings, Focus Time, 1:1s, brainstorming sessions, and brief breaks in between — there will likely be a handful of times throughout the workday when you aren’t available. That’s where Clockwise can help! 

Sure, you can manually update your Slack status and pause notifications as needed, but the Clockwise for Slack integration seamlessly communicates availability on your behalf. The Clockwise for Slack integration:

  • Automatically updates your status with your availability based on your calendar 
  • Provides a full preview of your day 
  • Silences interruptions with Do Not Disturb (great for Focus Time) 

Clockwise updates your Slack status with an emoji accompanied by descriptive text. Here’s a look at the statuses your teammates will see if you use our Clockwise for Slack integration:

  • 🗓 – In a "meeting category" Meeting (via Clockwise)  (For example: 🗓 In an external meeting (via Clockwise))
  • 💡 – Focus Time (via Clockwise) 
  • ⛔️ – Out of Office (via Clockwise)
  • The current phase of the moon [🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔] – Before Working Hours or Outside of Working Hours (via Clockwise)
  • Blank – no description, shows when you're in fragmented time, in a meeting Clockwise has categorized as not a true meeting (a hold, travel time, etc.), and on weekends.

Your teammates may also see the following depending on the type of meeting:

  • 🔕 Slack notifications are muted

Read our support article here for more information on how Clockwise and Slack work together or instructions on setting up the Clockwise Slack app. 

You can also sync your status with other apps for Slack, like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar. Or you can manually update your status by clicking your profile picture in the top right and leveraging the “Update your status” box under your name.

How do I customize my work schedule in Slack?

You can customize your work schedule with just a few clicks, so you can tailor your Slack notifications any way you want. Follow these steps to customize your setup.

Under “Notification schedule,” use the drop-down menu to select “Custom.” Pause and reflect on what you want your workweek schedule to look like and when you’d like to receive notifications. For example, if you reserve Friday mornings for Focus Time, consider setting your notification hour start time to noon. 

Here’s an example of a custom schedule:

scheduling in slack

Remember that your coworkers can still send you messages outside these hours; you simply won’t receive notifications. So if you set your schedule like the one above and you’re expecting a Slack message on Wednesday evening after 7:00 pm, you’ll need to check your Slack messages and should not anticipate receiving a notification.

Going forward

Notifications can take control of your workday and your off-the-clock life, but they don’t have to. Set your working hours in Slack to help convey your reachability and availability to your team members. For a bonus, consider using a tool like Clockwise that automatically updates your Slack status throughout your workday and beyond. Sign up for free today!

clockwise ai for slack

About the author

Alyssa Towns

Alyssa Towns is a freelance writer for Clockwise based in Denver, CO. She works in communications and change management. She primarily writes productivity and career-adjacent content and has bylines in G2, The Everygirl, Insider, and other publications. When she isn't writing, Alyssa enjoys trying new restaurants with her husband, playing with her Bengal cats, adventuring outdoors, or reading a book from her TBR list.

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