What You’ll Learn

  • How to use delays to time workflow steps

  • The types of delays available

  • The options for relative type delays

Delays allow you to customize the timing of step actions. They’re particularly useful for actions involving sending communications and notifications. An action like auto-submitting a student’s application would also benefit from using a delay.

Delays can be based on the time since the last step occurred, or relative to the time when a person in the workflow did something, such as starting an application.

Add a Delay

When you add a new step to a workflow, the delay defaults to 0, meaning that the step will happen immediately unless you specify a delay. To add a delay:

1. Click the delay icon on the left side of any of your steps. The Add Delay form will open.

2. Choose the type of delay and enter the time details. Let's take a look at the two options.

Standard Delay

A standard delay is based on when the last step was completed. If the delay is on the first step of a workflow, the time is based on when people entered the workflow. Setting the delay is a matter of simply entering the number of seconds, minutes, hours, and days. The seconds and minutes are for precision. It’s fine to indicate only days or hours.

Relative Delay

Relative delays are based on when a person in the workflow did something, or a specific date. Choosing the relative delay tab will add a few new fields to the Add Delay form.

Let's take a look at the relative delay options.


The first fields are the same as in the standard delay, but you now have the option to select before or after. Choose whether the step should occur before or after the timing you enter and the parameters you set in the next section.

Parameters and Constraints

Parameters are when a person in the workflow does something or when something happens in relation to their account. For example, when they start an application, or when they last logged into their application.

Constraints are the specifics of a parameter. For example, the name of the application a person starts or the calendar date of their birthday.

Here are descriptions for the parameters available:

Application Completed
The date that a person’s application was marked "completed" when they filled in all required fields and submitted necessary documents.

Application Registered
The date that a person began an application.

Application Submitted
The date that a person submitted an application.

Date of Birth
A person’s date of birth.

Event Date
The date of an event someone is registered for.

Last Import
The date when data was last imported for the person.

Last Login
The date someone last logged in to an application, microsite, etc. on Element451.

Last Update
The date a person last interacted with the system. Use this as an indicator of a person engaging or taking action.

Specific Date
Choose a date to delay from.

Important: Please be mindful that activating the workflow after adding the delay can affect the timing of the workflow. For example, the delay timer starts when the delay is added, not when the workflow is activated.

A closer look at:

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