How to Manage On-Call Schedules in Slack

Whether you're managing an engineering team or a support team, it's crucial to have the right person notified of new issues that come up. As the team grows, it's common to set schedules and rotations of who should be on call at a given time as the primary point of contact. In this article, we'll go through how to use Slack and Unthread to manage these schedules.

Tools used in this tutorial:
• Slack
• Unthread
• PagerDuty (optional)

Step 1: Create a Slack User Group

If you're creating a rotation for customer support, you'll want to have the possible assignees in a single group to chosen from by using a Slack User Group. Not only will this create a single grouping of assignees, but you can also set up an easily taggable handle like "@support-team" that can automatically notify the team members in Slack.

Here's how you create a Slack User Group from inside of Slack:

Creating a User Group from the Slack app

Step 2: Set Up Assignment Rules & SLAs

Open your Unthread dashboard, and navigate to the "Settings" > "General" tab. From here, you'll be able to manage your Assignment Rules & SLAs, which determine who should be responsible for new conversations. Set the Slack User Group as the default initial assignee.

Setting up an SLA in your Unthread dashboard 

Step 3: Set up Scheduling and Rotations

Now that we have the group of eligible assignees and the automation to assign new tickets to those individuals, we want to set up a way to schedule individuals during certain days of week or time of day.

Through the Slack app, you can set yourself as away by using a Slack Status. This can mean using a certain emoji like 🌙 or 🏝 to indicate that you aren't available. From your Unthread dashboard, you can set which emojis will indicate a user is offline and unavailable for assignment. Here's a guide on how to set up Slack away status syncing.

When a new conversation is created, anyone who has one Slack of those Slack statuses will be considered offline and will be skipped in the assignment process.

Did you know? You can use the Google Calendar for Slack app to automatically set a status emoji based on a calendar rotation.

PagerDuty is an operations platform for managing on-call rotations and schedules. This tool allows you to set up custom rules for who should be the primary point of contact for a given group. To use these rotations inside of Slack, you'll want to change the members of the Slack User Group to only reflect who is on call or has an active schedule at that time


By following these steps, you can now be sure that new tickets are always being routed to the right folks who are scheduled to be online and ready to respond to customers.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about Unthread, reach out to us here or visit