How to Master Slack Notifications (For Remote Teams)

Slack notification

We love Slack. Our entire 130- person team at Springworks uses the Slack app religiously 😀

Slack helps us:

  • Coordinate tasks and projects in real-time — much quicker than email
  • Conduct meetings easily
  • Have a little fun (because business isn’t always serious, you know)
  • And more…

Here’s the question: How do you know when a channel, mention, or message requires your input?

This is where Slack notifications come into the game!

Slack notifications are a great way to stay up to date on the conversations that need your attention most.

You’ll receive a notification every time someone:

  • Direct message to you.
  • Mentions you on a channel.
  • Replies to a thread you’re following.
  • Uses specific keywords you follow.

But sometimes, these alerts can distract you. So, you need to know how to use Slack notifications wisely.

This article will help you become a Slack notification master. Let’s dive in:

Want to learn how to use Slack effectively? Here’s a Playbook of 100 Slack Tips and Tricks. Download your Free Copy Now!

10 Tips to Master Slack Notifications

1. How to use “Do Not Disturb” mode

One of the challenges of working remotely is the unsaid rule to always be “available” on Slack or other team chat apps.

But you have family and friends. And you have to create a healthy work-life balance.

Slack has a solution: Do Not Disturb feature.

When you turn on the DND mode, Slack stops sending you notifications. And if someone sends you a message when you are in DND mode, they get a notification from Slackbot:

DND

How can you turn off/pause the notifications?

Click your workspace name >>> Select Pause notifications >>> Choose the amount of time.

pause notification

2. Set your Slack notification schedule

Slack allows you to set a Do Not Disturb schedule for a set block of time or your non-working hours. Once you set your schedule, it will automatically turn on Do Not Disturb mode during that period. I recommend using Do Not Disturb whenever you need to focus on a task.

Head over to Your Workspace >>> Select Preferences >>> Go to Notifications > Notification Schedule.

notification schedule

3. Respect your colleague’s DND schedule

Does your teammate have a Slack Do Not Disturb turned on? You should respect it. You can send them messages but wait for their response. 

If something truly urgent comes up, you can click “click here” to push notification through. Be aware that if they’re not available on their computer or phone, they still might not see it.

4. Use custom Status to let people know when you’re not around

If you need to focus on some task, or you’re only away from your computer for a short while, you’ll probably want to let your colleagues know it’s for a good reason.

A custom status feature is a perfect way to do this.

Just a simple line or an icon can be enough for your colleagues to understand where you are or what you’re up to before sending you a message.

Use this feature to let your team know that you’re on a call, out for lunch, commuting, dog walking, taking a nap, or in a meeting.

Your status will appear right next to your name so everyone can see it at a glance.

Just look in the upper left corner of Slack to find your login name, and click on it. From here, choose Set a status. This will open a new window:

set status

5. Integrate your Google Calendar with Slack to update your status

Integrate your Google calendar with Slack to easily update your Status. 

Install the Google Calendar app in Slack, then switch to it using the navigation menu on the left inside Slack. Select Turn On to enable the sync feature straight away, or you can enable it later from the app settings.

google calendar

When you’re in a meeting, your Slack status will automatically update to show that you’re in “In a meeting.” 

6. Set Slack notifications across devices

When you receive a direct message, some @mentions you, or replies to a thread you’re following, Slack sends a push notification on your desktop and your mobile app (if you have it installed on your phone).

You’ll get the mobile notifications once you’ve been inactive on your desktop, although you can customize it for a shorter or longer time period.

Head over to Your Workspace >>> Select Preferences >>> Go to Notifications >>> Set your device setting.

notifications on device

7. Set notification preferences for a specific Slack channel

You probably have some channels which you care less about than others, but you can’t leave them completely. That’s just the nature of office communication, whether your team is remote or not. 

The best thing?

Slack allows you to set notification preferences for different channels in Slack. Here’s how:

Navigate to the channel >>> and click the Gear icon >>> This opens up your channel details >>> Choose Notification Preferences for the channel.

preference

8. Set keyword notifications in Slack

There may be certain topics or keywords you’re interested in following on Slack, such as an important project/task you’re working on. You can track updates to these topics, even if they’re discussed in a channel you’re not following.

You just need to set keyword notification in Slack, here’s how to do it:

Go to Preferences >>> select Notifications >>> scroll down to the Highlight Words section >>> List all the words you’d like to get a notification for when mentioned in any of your company’s Slack channels.

keyword notification

9. How Slack notifications for threads work

Starting or replying to a thread automatically signs you up to be notified of any new replies. You’ll also see Threads highlighted at the top of your Slack sidebar.

You can follow a thread even if you didn’t start the thread or replied to a thread. How?

Hover over the message and click the three dots icon. Then select “Follow thread.” And you’ll start getting notifications.

Follow threads

To unfollow a thread, click Threads in your Slack sidebar. Hover over the message, click the three dots icon, and select “Unfollow thread.”

unfollow thread

10. Minimize the notification noise in Slack

Even after reducing the total number of notifications, they can still be pretty distracting. Make them less disruptive by tweaking the notification sound settings.

How can you do it?

Visit Your Name > Preferences > Notifications > Sound & Appearance to make batch changes—one change impacts all channels—or make changes individually for each channel by clicking the channel/group name.

minimize the noise

Congratulations! You now know everything about Slack notifications. Customize your notifications to the way you work best, and they’ll help bring you peace of mind.

If you made it this far, I have a bonus for you. 

BONUS: Want to learn how to use Slack effectively? Here’s a Playbook of 100 Slack Tips and Tricks. Download your Free Copy Now!

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