Cut clunky leave application processes some Slack

Dhruv Saxena

It’s a busy day — the ‘multiple tabs in multiple windows’ kind of busy.

A team member emails you asking to approve their leave request, so you switch to your unwieldy HR app to see who else might be on leave then, switch back to email, bang out a response, come back to Slack. Lo and behold — you’ve completely forgotten what you were doing. You just about gather your thoughts when—whoosh—another email asking for time off. Can’t catch a break? Neither can the rest of your team.

Here’s where the problem lies

Leave applications and approvals are two of the most essential processes in your organisation. But trust bumbling tools, lost emails, and slapdash spreadsheets to make those a nightmare. Switching context becomes that much harder when you have to switch tools, too. No one wants to spend three hours between 45 windows to hit one green button.

And what about finding out who else is on leave at the same time without being sucked into a black hole of confusion? It seems impossible — until it isn’t. 

Here’s how we fixed it 

The Pause Slack integration makes it easy for your team members to apply for time off directly in Slack, using a simple /Pause command. As an approver, you get notified immediately. So you’re all set to review the details and approve or decline the application without leaving Slack.

By the way, you’re not wholly dependent on the bot’s notification alone (which means no waiting around for leave information). You can also use /Pause whenever you want to get the deets on who’s on leave from which team and during what period of time.  

To keep teams in the loop, you can customise the bot to send a list of everyone on leave each day or each week to your preferred Slack channel. They’ll go out at a fixed time of your choosing—9 AM for an early heads-up, for instance. Easy, unobtrusive and stress-free. 

One last thing. We’ve also built this nifty little emoji feature. It subtly but surely tells you if the person you’re about to message is on leave by showing a 🌴 emoji next to their name on Slack.

Get daily time-off summaries when you add Pause, a leave management and team planning tool, to your Slack workspace.

Behind the scenes 

We pride ourselves on making software obvious. That involves building thoughtfully and doing all the heavy lifting so that, for our users, using Pause is a breeze. Here’s a glimpse at the principles that guided us and how we made the Slack Integration feature a no-brainer. 

Don’t make them pull, just push what’s relevant

We push all relevant information to our users so they don’t have to go hunting. They don’t need to feel bombarded by irrelevant details, or worry about missing something important. We thought (and iterated) long and hard about what goes into public channels and what’s better sent over DMs, to walk that fine line. The final decision: the list of those on leave today or this week goes to public channels. Only approval requests and individual leave status updates go over DMs.  

Enable switching contexts without switching tools

If context-switching is a productivity killer, then tool-switching stomps all over its grave. That defeats the purpose of buying a product like Pause in the first place. This is why, although we built an interface that works seamlessly on both mobile and web (despite being a tool that sells for just a dollar per user), we kept our egos in a musty back drawer. We’ve done everything possible to ensure users don’t have to leave Slack—their most-used workplace tool—to take time off or see who else is off.

Read more on how we built Pause

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