Dear Slack: Where’s vacation mode?

Dear Slack,

It’s 2018 and there is still no easy way to disable Slack notifications while on vacation. The workarounds are not adequate and it’s been over 3 years since you first said that a vacation mode was in the works. What gives?

Workarounds

We use Slack at my work and most people that I know end up doing one of 3 things:

  • Uninstalling the Slack mobile app
  • Signing out of the team in the Slack mobile app
  • Disabling push notifications for the Slack mobile app

There is a fourth, more advanced, workaround that involves hacking “do not disturb” (DND) mode. Unfortunately, DND mode only goes up to 24 hours. Most people take vacations longer than that. The hack is to set your DND schedule to be from 1:30am to 1:00am daily.slack-dnd-mode-24-hours

All of these methods have downsides. They all require doing something that you must remember to undo later. In addition, except for the advanced workaround that nobody uses, they completely disable the Slack mobile app.

Why is this a problem? Well, say my co-worker is on vacation and I really need to get in touch with her about something important. Now I don’t have a way of doing so! And say I am the person on vacation, it’s not any better for me. I’m probably extra stressed out because now I don’t know if people are trying to contact me. I’ll have to periodically check in to ease my mind so I’m never able to fully tune out.

A broken promise?

“The mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant, more productive.” – Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack

Not having a vacation mode seems to go against this mission. As users, it’s certainly not making our lives any simpler, more pleasant, or more productive. A proper vacation mode would simplify things, help us enjoy our time off more, and come back to work more productive! It’s a respect for your users’ work life balance.

My fear is that this feature has gotten pushed deep into the backlog. It sounds like the team that was working on it got reassigned or something. And now with the recent $400M raise, there’s only going to be more pressure to grow, grow, grow and build flashier new features. It’s easy for boring, user-requested features likes these to take a backseat. My goal here is to call that out along with the fact it’s been 3 years since Slack said they would address this.

I trust that Slack will do the right thing here. To your credit, you are constantly improving the product. Adding statuses and a “do not disturb” mode was a great start. And a few weeks ago you finally added images support in threads. So the product is always improving. Now it would be great to see this commitment followed through on:

Yours truly,
A passionate Slack user


Are you also frustrated by Slack’s lack of a vacation mode? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Also, to help give Slack a nudge you can contact them using this handy, one-click “vacation mode” feature request link I created.

2 thoughts on “Dear Slack: Where’s vacation mode?

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