Slack has announced a new 'Schedule Send' feature that allows users to queue up messages to send at specific dates and times.
Set to start rolling out on Thursday, the function will appear as a drop-down menu that pops up when users click on the 'send' arrow in the chat box.
Slack will offer both pre-filled options, like "tomorrow 9am", as well as the ability to set a custom date and time to send the message. Users can schedule messages up to 120 days in advance and they can reschedule, edit, or delete them before they've been sent.
The feature will work in both channels and direct messages, and also for temporary groups and threads. It's available for both the desktop service and the Android and iOS mobile apps, with users of the latter needing to press and hold the 'send' arrow to see the drop-down menu.
"Today we launched Scheduled Send to empower users to communicate and collaborate in a way that works best for them," the company said in a statement, adding that "teams shouldn't be obligated to sync their schedules in order to communicate effectively."
The function will be important for large businesses with offices and employees in different time zones, but also for companies planning to mix in-office and remote working with various shift patterns. It will allow Slack users more opportunities to fully switch off by preventing out-of-hours notifications, but it also means that some messages won't get buried by others before the recipient starts their shift.
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Given accusations that apps like Slack contribute to an 'always-on' culture, some may question why it has taken so long to add a feature of this kind to the platform, particularly as a similar feature has been available on Gmail for some time.
A message scheduling feature is also available on Microsoft Teams, although the Slack version appears to offer a slightly easier user experience.
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Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.
Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognise him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.