Time Management
How to quickly change your Slack status to away or busy

How to quickly change your Slack status to away or busy

September 15, 2023

How to quickly change your Slack status to away or busy
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What if your Slack status could quickly convey to your teammates in real-time whether you’re in a meeting, outside of working hours, out of office, or heads-down on a project? Good news! You can update your Slack status with Slack emoji to let your colleagues know your status.

Curious about creating more time in your workday? Clockwise optimizes your schedule to create a smarter calendar. You can learn more here. If you’d like to learn how to implement a time management toolkit for your team, we also offer solutions for teams.

Updating your Slack status

Slack allows you to let your team members know how quickly you’ll respond to messages and when you're available.

Slack displays a dot next to your name to show your teammates whether you’re active or away, and whether you’ve paused your notifications.

Slack active status
Slack active status
Slack away status
Slack away status

By default, Slack determines whether you’re active or away based on your desktop activity. After 10 minutes of desktop and mobile inactivity, Slack automatically sets your status to “away.”

Set your availability

You can also manually set your Slack status to active or away at any time. To do this, click on your profile picture in the top right corner and click “Set yourself as away” if you’re currently active and “Set yourself as active” if you’re currently away.


How to set your Slack status emoji

Every status has an emoji associated with it. If you don’t select a custom status emoji, Slack displays a 💬 speech balloon by default.

Your team can see your status emoji next to your name. To see your full status they can click into your profile or hover their mouse over your status emoji on desktop.

Note: Colleagues in externally shared channels won’t be able to see your status.

To manually update your Slack status and associated emoji, click on your profile picture in the top right corner when the Slack desktop app is open and click into your status field, located right below “Active” or “Away.” Click the pencil. Then click on the emoji to select an emoji to replace the current one with a new emoji.

How to make Slack update your status automatically based on your calendar

To sync your availability to your Slack status automatically based on your calendar, check out Clockwise’s Google Calendar + Slack sync.

It’s the quickest, easiest way to sync Slack with Google Calendar. And it’s free.

If you’re a Clockwise user on G Suite, just click here to give Clockwise permission to easily integrate Slack with Google Calendar. If you’re not using Clockwise yet, click here to get started for free.

The first time you sign up for Clockwise, you can sync your calendar with Slack as part of the onboarding flow.

When you sync Google Calendar and Slack through Clockwise, a status-specific emoji will show up next to your name in Slack:

Slack sync ooo
Slack sync OOO

We also offer the option to turn on an automatic Do Not Disturb response when someone messages you when you’re out of office, in Focus Time, or otherwise unavailable based on your calendar. This lets your teammates know when they shouldn’t expect a fast response. It’s especially handy for remote work or working from home where you might be collaborating across time zones.

Slack sync status

The Clockwise Slack sync also offers a daily forecast of your meetings to help you prepare for your day.

Slack sync daily forecast
Clockwise Slack sync daily forecast

Going forward

There are multiple ways to quickly change your Slack status to away, busy, or a custom status and emoji. You can do it manually. Or, you can sync Slack with Google Calendar within G Suite. This Slack integration makes your work life easier in at least three ways:

  1. It can automatically update your status with your availability.
  2. It offers you and your teammates a preview of your day and your team’s day.
  3. It kills unwanted interruptions for deep focus with Do Not Disturb.

To start syncing Slack with Google Calendar, click here. If you’re not a Clockwise user yet, click here to get started for free.

Interested in implementing a Smarter Schedule for your workday?

  • Clockwise – Get started using Clockwise with Focus Time, Flexible Meetings, Scheduling Links, and Powerful Integrations here.
  • Smart Calendar for Teams – Teams on a paid plan see 44% more Focus Time created on average. Watch a demo of our Shared Calendar App or contact us for a walkthrough.

About the author

Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is the former Head of Content at Clockwise. She has covered business software for six years and has been published in Newsweek, Forbes, the Daily Beast, VICE Motherboard, Reason magazine, Talking Points Memo and other publications.

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