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Bothering people over [communication tool]

nimmo profile image Nimmo Updated on ・1 min read

I've worked remotely for a couple of years, and I still find myself learning things about the practice.

I recently suggested to a colleague that I didn't like to "bother" people by asking them questions over Slack.

I described how much easier it was when working in an office; I could look and see if people seemed busy, and ask them whatever I needed to if they didn't.

Knowing that my message would result in a notification put me off sending it. I didn't know what that person was doing. I wanted to avoid disturbing them. This led me to "saving up" questions that I wanted to ask people.

My colleague told me that other people's management of their own notifications wasn't my problem. And she was right.

I had been wasting my own time by making a decision about other people's. Even my suggestion that it's easier in an office isn't true; asking "have got a minute?" in person is a much bigger interruption.

Perhaps everyone else has managed to figure this out for themselves, but in case anyone hasn't: Your colleagues are adults. They can manage their own time and alerts.

Ask the question and get on with your day.

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Nimmo

@nimmo

I'm a software developer based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. I've got a wide range of experience in companies of varying sizes and cultures, and in roles of varying degrees of responsibility.

Discussion

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This post was less about "I'm stuck with X" and more about "Y is on my mind" tbh, although yes I agree that it's important not to just dive into a hole and get lost if you're actually stuck with something!