Outlook Calendar Tips for Remote Teams

As mentioned in my last blog post A New Role with Microsoft Graph Team, I mentioned I am joining the Microsoft Graph team. One of the nice aspects of our team is that we are diverse and globally dispersed. With the different time zones that our team all reside in I thought it would be helpful to review a few of my calendar settings in Outlook desktop and Outlook on the Web to help with scheduling meetings or calls.

Working / Meeting Hours

Set your working / meeting days and hours so that teammates will know when you are generally available for scheduled meetings or calls. Personally, I wake up early most days and hence my start of the day is likely earlier than some others.

Outlook desktop: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Work time

Outlook calendar settings for working hours

Outlook on the Web: Settings -> Calendar -> View -> Meeting hours

Outlook on the Web calendar settings for meeting hours

Time Zones

Since my team is all over the world, it is important to be aware of time zones for scheduling meetings. In Outlook desktop it is possible to set your primary time zone and display 2 additional time zones. In the following screenshot I have set Eastern Time (US & Canada) as my primary time zone with additional time zones for Pacific Time (US & Canada) and East Africa Time (Nairobi). I have purposely kept the labels short so that they fit easily in the display on calendar views.

Outlook desktop: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Time zones

I have only been able to add a single time zone in Outlook on the Web. If someone knows a way to add multiple please let me know in the comments or contact me.

Outlook on the Web: Settings -> Calendar -> Language and time

End Meetings Early

Whether you are hosting a meeting in-person or online there are many reasons you may want to end your meeting early including:

  • Allow attendees time to walk to their next meeting room
  • Encourage attendees to wrap up their meeting without overlapping the following time block
  • Give attendees time for a mental break / chance to use the restroom in between meetings
  • …and more

Outlook desktop: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Calendar options

Outlook on the Web: Settings -> Calendar -> Events and invitations -> End appointments and meetings early

Share Free / Busy Times

In addition to setting your working / meeting hours, you can also come to show your free / busy times (and more) with other people.

Outlook desktop: File -> Options -> Calendar -> Calendar options -> Free/Busy Options

By default you may see that all users in your organization are able to see your free / busy times. You can adjust permission levels to show more details or add / remove additional people to have access to view your calendar.

Outlook on the Web: Settings -> Calendar -> Shared calendars

Publish Calendar

Aside from showing your free / busy times to people internal to your organization, sometimes you may want to publish your calendar to people external to your organization. Currently I have found this easiest to do through Outlook on the Web.

Outlook on the Web: Settings -> Calendar Shared calendars -> Publish a calendar

After you publish your desired calendar you can provide people with either an HTML (render in browser) or ICS (universal calendar file format) link.

Conclusion

In this post I walked through a number of calendar settings and preferences on my Outlook desktop and Outlook on the Web client. I hope this helps you to think of the diverse and global audience that you may be working with currently or in the future. If you have any additional tips you recommend please share them in the comments.

-Frog Out

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s