Here Are 3 Things to Do If Your Coworker Repeatedly Ignores Your Slack Messages

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 14, 2024 at 7:51AM UTC

“Help!” an FGB member said in our forums. “Coworker is always MIA!”

They added that 87% of their company works remotely, and “we have a coworker that is so unresponsive to our communication all day. His calendar is not updated and is blocked for a total of 6 hours daily. None of us have any idea what he's doing. He hops on calls 10 to 15 minutes late, except when the boss is on the call. His status is on ‘do not disturb’ all day,  and he recently switched it to permanently available but is still unresponsive.”

It’s “really driving us bananas,” the FGB member wrote. “Any suggestions?”

1. Look at the results.

“I would strongly recommend a focus on results,” another member urged the original poster. “Is work going unfinished? The time someone is at their keyboard is a terrible (the worst?) measure of productivity. Find hard facts — measurable signs of dereliction.”

“Is he getting the work done?” Bradford McCormick asked. “Is there any material business need to contact him which is being impeded as opposed to just the usual thing that bosses like to keep track of their reports all the time and coworkers like to schmooze?”

Ultimately, if the colleague is getting his work done and is an excellent performer, then his unresponsiveness may not be much of an issue.

2. Keep track.

That doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating for his coworkers. “If his work impacts what you do, keep track of all your attempts to contact him,” Audrey Kirsch suggested.

However, if it doesn’t, then why invest your time in being frustrated?

“Otherwise, stop reaching out at all even if you have the information you think he will need,” Kirsch continued. “He will eventually have to reach out to you or your other coworkers to get his work done. It's up to the boss to make sure their team is functioning. It's annoying when a co-worker is not pulling their weight, but since you are remote, it is easier just to ignore them as long as you can still get your work done. Concentrate on your work and collaborating with your other co-workers and stop worrying about what this deadbeat is doing or not doing.”

3. Refocus.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your coworker, and you may not have all the information about their performance. 

“You’re not his manager,” Rosa Goes wrote. “I recommend you find ways to refocus your attention. In other words, maybe hide his calendar or status so you don't see it. Or excuse yourself if other coworkers start talking about him. Focus on your job.”

“You don't say in what way it's impacting your work, just that he's not available and late to meetings,” Kristin added. “Does it actually affect you though? If not, it's not your problem.”

“I can never understand monitoring other coworkers when you are not in charge of their supervision,” another member agreed. “You don't know why he's been allowed to go radio silent and no one is asking you for an opinion.”

At the end of the day? “Stay focused on your own work performance.”

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance editor and writer based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab-mix Hercules. She primarily focuses on education, technology and career development. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Fairygodboss, CollegeVine, BairesDev and many other publications and organizations. Her humor writing has appeared in the Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Flexx Magazine, Points in Case, Jane Austen's Wastebasket, and Greener Pastures. She also writes fiction and essays, which have appeared in publications including The Memoirist and The Avalon Literary Review. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for getting in touch with unresponsive coworkers? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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