As part of my day-to-day duties and responsibilities, I am often tasked with assignments that might be outside of my immediate knowledge. Despite this, I make sure I do my due diligence in researching the topic on my own before reaching out to specialists in my organization. I am well aware that most depts. are swamped and individuals having to juggle multiple assignments themselves.

With this said, I am at a loss as to what would be a good time period to follow up with requests whether via email, or a support ticket, or phone call.

One day? Two days? A week?

If I don't for a couple of days, does this mean that I no longer require services?

Note: this is not an interviewing question of how soon to follow up, but rather for inter-dept. communications.

Update as of 2017-09-21

So after exhausting my options, I escalated the issue to my manager and he/she convened a meeting of the minds.

  • Is that follow up a result of the people you are asking for help not replying? – DarkCygnus Sep 14 '17 at 17:30
  • Correct, in some cases it is no reply at all, or replied once (I then responded) but they never got back. – Bluebird Sep 14 '17 at 17:32
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    "It depends". If you literally have nothing else to do until you receive a response, it wouldn't make sense to wait as much as a day (or to rely on email or tickets, generally). If it's not high priority, you can probably wait up to a week. It also depends what the typical / maximum allowed response time in your organisation is. – Bernhard Barker Sep 14 '17 at 17:36

This depends of course of how complicated it is to fulfill your request. What you can always do, is ask the specialists when they think they will have the time to deal with your request. If you do not hear from them by then, just ask about the status and how much longer it will take.

One tactic employees tend to use if are swamped, is just to ignore all the requests where no one follows up. So, even if that is not a particularly healthy way to manage tasks, the more you keep bugging them, the faster they´ll want to get that off their plate. This is especially for smaller tasks. Don´t overstretch it though!

  • Makes sense, I am guessing there is no hard and fast rule? – Bluebird Sep 14 '17 at 17:42
  • No, common sense, as anywhere in business is your best tool for this. You could make it a habit to always ask for an time estimate when you hand over a task, and make an alert in your Outlook or whatever you use, to remind you when to get back to them. – Daniel Sep 14 '17 at 17:45
  • Understood. I'll make note and remember this advice. – Bluebird Sep 14 '17 at 17:49
  • Sorry Daniel, but ignore requests just because no one follow up is very unprofessional. If you accept do a task I expect you do it and don't need me breathing on your neck for completed. – Juan Carlos Oropeza Sep 14 '17 at 18:58
  • @Juan Carlos Oropeza Try to read and understand my whole post. I am not encouraging to ignore requests, I am stating that this is in fact what a lot of people do in an organisation the OP describes - and how to deal with it. – Daniel Sep 14 '17 at 19:12

When you ask for help you also request an estimated of how long will take.

Lets say you need a bulb change, you go to the janitor and ask if he can change it. There are some possible scenarios.

  • He said "no problem". But doesn't give you a timeline. Could be in 10 minutes could be tomorrow or at the end of the week. You don't have a way to know when to do a follow up

  • If he said "no problem, I will be there in 10 minutes", then 10 minutes is the appropriated time to make a follow up.

  • If he said "no problem, I can do it tomorrow". You can make a follow question inquiring why require so much time. (maybe he doesn't have any replacement right now). Then is up to you to decide if wait until tomorrow or find alternative solutions. But if you agree with the estimated time you cant be doing follow up before that estimated.

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