My current employer is very distributed, over different countries. So all communication is via instant messaging.

People are very bad at getting back to you when asking for help.

How long should I allow somebody to answer before escalating or asking somebody else. Currently it is taking me up to 2 days to get answers to question that are blocking my work.

My work is such that I am only working on 1 thing at a time, so when I am blocked I am sat waiting, trying to research an answer etc.

Edit: I have completely given up on email as I seem to have 0% chance of getting a reply to emails.

Edit 2: Most people (including myself) seem to be third party contractors (out sourced), so there is no "team" to raise it with.

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    "My work is such that I am only working on 1 thing at a time" Who assigns you work? Is he in the same office/country/timezone? – Sandra K Apr 19 '18 at 13:52
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    Did you try calling him (or your solution source person) when you are blocked? – Sandra K Apr 19 '18 at 13:57
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    "How long should I wait" seems really specific to a given context. It will be a challenge to answer that. Have you raised this question with your boss? – dwizum Apr 19 '18 at 13:57
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    Personal opinion is that you shouldn't wait at all, if he/she doesn't answer you within 10-15 min you should look for help else where, I doubt boss will be mad at you for being resourceful and getting the job done – Veljko89 Apr 19 '18 at 14:04
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    If they are in the same time zone, I would wait about an hour and then call them on the phone. Be sure to state up front that this is blocking your work. If you are calling your boss, then ask him to assign you something else to work on when you are blocked. – HLGEM Apr 19 '18 at 16:47

instant messaging should be just that - instant

Check company policies and by-laws regarding peer-to-peer communication.

If nothing is set there 31 minutes :) , timezone specific, should be acceptable threshold.

IMHO, you cannot expect someone to answer you after-hours in his timezone

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