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Slack communication and notification best practices

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What are some communication best practices for Slack?

@Mentions - alerting someone of a message they need to see

If you want to ensure that someone sees a message in a channel when you post it, you need to “mention” them by typing an @ symbol, followed by their name, which will auto-populate as you type). For example, if you have a question for a specific teammate, you can mention them in a channel they’re in to get their attention. You can also mention them in channels they’re not in, and Slack will give you the option to notify them.

Direct messages

You can send a direct message (DM) to a single person or a group of people. Note: Direct messages can be published via a FOIA request.

Editing messages

You can edit a message that has been sent in Slack for 5 minutes after it is posted. You aren’t able to delete a message: instead, you can edit the text and leave a . or a note such as wrong channel. After 5 minutes, you cannot edit or delete your message.

Follow the Security incidents guidance to request that a Slack message be deleted in the event of a security or personally identifiable information (PII) issue.

Slack statuses

You can create a Slack status that provides information about your availability next to your Display Name. For example, if you are OOO, you can select an emoji that will appear next to your photo, and a message “OOO until Monday 3/1.”


We encourage the use of threads. A thread is a response to a post that is “nested” beneath the original post.

Threading has several advantages: it keeps a conversation grouped together; folks who post in the thread are notified each time a new message is added; and there are no further notifications in the main channel, after the initial post (unless you choose that option).

Sharing a lot of information at once

Use posts to share large chunks of text.

@here and @channel notifications

There are 2 methods for sending an alert notification to all of the people in a Slack channel: @channel and @here. You can read more about these 2 types of notifications. We recommend using these alerts very sparingly, and consider only using them in Slack channels for your specific team/projects (and set team guidelines on when to use).

Do you have any tips on how not to get overwhelmed by Slack?

Slack can be overwhelming for both new and existing employees!

Remember that you don’t have to be a part of every conversation, and you can join and leave public channels as much as you want. Though you may get invited to channels, you don’t have to stay. Of course, check with your supervisor before leaving a channel designed specifically for your team. If you leave a private channel, you will need to be added by a current channel member in order to return.

Slack has a powerful search feature and you can search specific channels or conversations. For instance, if you have a question about a specific healthcare plan, search for its name in Slack.

How can I set a status that lets others know that I'm not working?

Set Slack boundaries when you aren't working or you when need to be heads-down by setting your status to Away.

You can set a notification schedule so Slack automatically shows that you aren't online before/after certain times.

How can I manage my notifications?

You can set up notification preferences and decide what messages will trigger notifications for you. You are able to pause notifications as needed to help you concentrate.

You can also turn off notifications for the Slack app on your phone. Don't worry — though we have different schedules and may message each other at different times, there's no expectation for people to respond when they're not working.

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