I sent an email to my coworker asking about a problem I was having, to clarify if it was a problem with a test I wrote or a bug in the code. I got a response saying it might be related to what he's doing, asking for the details of the problem. Because he sent it over the weekend, I didn't reply until this morning, and I haven't gotten a response since.

I'm completely stalled until I can sort this problem out, my work is completely done other than this issue, and I can't move onto other things until I finish my current task because they're connected.

In this scenario, I don't know where his desk is or what he looks like, so my only communication options are email or the company's chat program. How long should I wait before following up, and how should I approach it?

1 Answer 1


First I would find out from someone where his desk is.

If you are completely stalled, you have to recognize that it still may not be his highest priority. You don't know this person or what is on his plate.

However if you are stalled, followup in chat or email immediately. Or go physically talk to him (which I have found is often more effective). Just tell him that you are stuck until you get a response as he may not realize he is causing a work stoppage.

If you use email cc your boss. IF you use chat or a personal visit, email your boss and let him know you are stalled and that you are working with this person to get through the delay. It is important to let your boss know what is stalling you because he needs to know that part of your project is stalled.

Now it may happen that the person can't get back to you today due to other priorities or even being out of the office. In that case, you need to determine if someone else can help you or seek your boss's help in raising the priority of answering you as soon as can be.

You should also work on something else if possible until the delay is resolved or ask your boss specifically if there is something you can work on in the meantime that is unrelated, so that progress is still being made.

The one thing you don't want to do is still passively waiting for an answer when work is totally stopped.

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    I would definitely endorse finding out where he sits and going to talk to him - if you're working on the same code, and have never met, then you probably should! Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 3:29

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