Why office hours?
While many organizer questions can be answered via email, synchronous communication in Slack can be quicker, more efficient, and friendlier. We started organizing office hours in order to solve the problem of deputies working constantly in instant-reaction mode, and thus making mistakes due to constant multi-tasking.
While some questions that crop up in office hours can only be answered by a specific person, most can be answered by deputies or fellow organizers who are familiar with the organizer handbooks or our team workflow.
Office hours etiquette
We post at the beginning of the hour that office hours are beginning, and then review the back scroll of the channel to see if anyone asked a question that went unanswered since the last office hour. Reply to that person, notifying them in the reply, as best you can. If you can’t answer their question, you can notify the person who you think might know the answer in your response or suggest that the person email email@example.com with their question. (It’s ok to not know everything! Studies show that nearly no one does.)
Whenever possible, we prefer to direct someone to the handbook page where their question can be answered, in addition to giving them a quick answer.
While it’s fun to chat with other deputies in the channel during office hours — you’re all “there” after all — sometimes this can discourage people who want to ask questions, because they might not want to interrupt. So while it’s fine to joke around and be friendly in office hours, it’s also best to keep those social interactions short so that other people have the “space” to ask their questions.