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To not want to be hassled when I'm busy?

(15 Posts)
TaterTots Tue 04-Oct-16 21:22:39

Work related. The company I work for has an MSN style internal messaging system, designed for quick queries etc. that don't require a call or a meeting. It's fine if people use it like that, but an increasing number of people who I work with want to have long discussions over it, regardless of whether it's convenient. As such I tend to favour email, which I can reply to when I'm not halfway through something. If it's urgent I have a desk phone and a work mobile. If I can't answer (eg in a meeting or discussing something with a colleague) there is voicemail.

It's performance review time at the moment and, while most of my feedback is good, the only negative came from two colleagues both saying it would help if I was available via the message service. I like and respect them both, and to be honest I think they've only mentioned it because you're encouraged to recommend areas for improvement, but it's annoyed me somewhat.

Example - last week Colleague 2 rang desk phone at 10 while I was in a meeting. He rang again at least once more in the next hour as another colleague answered my phone (guessing she was fed up with it ringing!) I checked my mobile - two voicemail so in the same period. Emails too.

It was only just over an hour from call one to me calling back (which he did acknowledge to be fair). Am I being unreasonable to feel that if you've called four times, left messages and emailed in one hour and you don't get a response, you should assume I'm BUSY - not suggest I should be on the message service so you can hassle me through that too?

TaterTots Wed 05-Oct-16 00:04:04


AmeliaJack Wed 05-Oct-16 00:13:24

Our instant messaging system has a status setting g so it automatically turns to busy if you are in a meeting, amber if you are away from your desk for more than a few minutes and you can set it to do not disturb as well.

Our company has an expectation that you reply to instant messengers unless you absolutely cannot (i.e. On a conference call). We are expected to be able to multi task.

In addition my calendar is visible to all so you'd be able to see that I was in a meeting and when I'd be free next.

TaterTots Wed 05-Oct-16 00:15:22

I get the feeling we may work for the same company blush

AmeliaJack Wed 05-Oct-16 00:23:09


Make use of the 'busy' status then.

If I have something I really need peace and quiet for I put a "meeting" in my diary or book a meeting room.

If these two particular colleagues are problematic is there a way of "heading them off at the pass"? I.e. Getting in touch in advance of a busy period and seeing if they need anything?

TaterTots Wed 05-Oct-16 00:29:44

To be fair both are very nice. I just find the idea that you can't go and hour without being contactable. The little window that pops up is like a needy child clawing at your skirt. 'I know you might be busy or in a meeting or talking to someone else or having a sandwich or doing a poo, but I want something so talk to me, now now NOW!

AmeliaJack Wed 05-Oct-16 00:32:54

grin I know the behaviour it is frustrating. Just ignore and politely say, I was in meetings this morning, I'm available now how can I help?

To be fair, I find it irritating when people aren't on the messenger system myself. It can be a quick way to get stuff done.

TaterTots Wed 05-Oct-16 00:51:36

I wouldn't mind if it was used for genuine quick questions. But it's a sodding essay every bloody time angry

AmeliaJack Wed 05-Oct-16 00:56:32

In which case just manage them;

"I'm just with someone just now, can you pop that in an email and I'll get back to you asap."

PoppyPicklesPenguin Wed 05-Oct-16 01:12:19

I used to get this, drove me insane!!

Was managing virtual teams across Europe 15 of the lovely individuals

Be focusing on something big (so set to busy, with a note working on something be available in one hour)

Message pops up
Then another
Then a text
Then a phone call

For something relatively minor that really could wait an hour, usually from the same person

My blood pressure just went up just thinking about it, so I very much feel your pain

pennefabredux Wed 05-Oct-16 01:15:47

No YANBU. If you use your settings with the red box or blocked box (presenting, do not disturb), they should be aware you can't immediately address their question/request.

Frankly I love the messaging app. But, I will also not answer if not convenient or I need to really consider my response. Corporate culture so far is fine with that.

And, when I am the one sending an IM and don't receive a response immediately, I presume the receiving party is busy. I often follow up with an email if they haven't responded and I see that they are "green" (available/not scheduled). That way, they can respond to either when they have time.

If it is literally life or death, all floodgates open and it's calls, emails, IM and everything else...

But honestly, if you don't want to be disturbed, even for a short time, change your status to "do not disturb". That way you're being optimal communicator and setting their expectations on your ability to be immediately responsive.

ParForTheCourses Wed 05-Oct-16 08:33:01

Yanbu op. But performance review is a two way process and you should definitely counter the feedback with what you've said above about having patience

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 05-Oct-16 08:35:27

We have this at work too. It worked okay when you could mark yourself as busy so people didn't expect an immediate reply (and would think twice about hassling you). Now we've been asked not to use busy... eirgh.

I'm quite chatty, too, but sometimes you just need to focus!

Trills Wed 05-Oct-16 08:40:12

Ugh. People really leave you voicemail?

back to the point

I think a reasonable amount of request for your attention is one IM or voicemail
"I wanted to talk to you about the Jones account, are you free?"

And then if there's no response reasonable quickly (because by the time you are free, the persona asking may then be buys) then an email, ideally one where you can give them the information you need with no need for further back-and-forth.
"About the Jones account, can you get back to me with the September numbers, and let me know if you have heard any objections from Sarah or whether we are just proceeding without her."

QueenofallIsee Wed 05-Oct-16 08:49:04

My company uses Skype for Business extensively for IMs, voice calls, video conf etc, but what you are describing is more your office culture - is it typically the sort of place where you get disproportionate reactions to minor issues?

If a colleague of mine is 'available' I send an IM, if busy I have been known to send an IM that says 'i need you when you have 5 mins'. We all have mobiles with voicemail but to be honest, I use it mainly for social media these days! Even when I am travelling, I have a Skype app on the phone so can get my IMs. I would 100% counter the feedback with comments about expectation and attitude to peoples time

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