Sharing our Calendar

First, we would talk on ‘why’ we should share our calendar with other people (after all, we are private creatures). Then, we would see who the candidates are for this calendar-sharing thing. At last, we would learn how we do it.

Get ready to read a few insights on how sharing your calendar would improve the quality of your meeting invitations (I would explain what “quality of invitations” means).

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Why should we share our calendar?

Sharing our calendar with people would improve the quality of invitations from/to those people. Quality of invitations means that a meeting was chosen over a time slot that is optimized in terms of conflicts, importance and urgency.

Let’s do that by example:

  • I have a tight meetings day which is reflected in my calendar.
  • My manager Alice wants to schedule a meeting with me. Alice has 2 free time-slot options during her work day. Unfortunately, I have meetings over those 2 time-slots.
  • Now let’s see what happens when my calendar is shared with Alice, and when it is not shared.

My calendar is shared with Alice

  • Alice needs to decide which one of the 2 meetings she wants to override. She can take that decision based on a few factors, such as: the content of the meeting, the urgency/importance of the meeting, the number of participants in the meeting, etc.
  • When I receive the meeting invitation from Alice, I know she has visibility of my calendar and therefore I assume she took a decision after considering the meeting content, the meeting forum and so forth. Therefore, I accept her invitation and I re-schedule the other meeting I had on that time slot.

My calendar is NOT shared with Alice

  • Alice needs to decide which one of the 2 meetings she wants to override. Since she has no visibility of my calendar, she randomly picks one.
  • When I receive the meeting invitation from Alice, I know she has no visibility of my calendar and therefore I start back-and-forth discussion on whether she can choose another time slot.

Now you tell me which option is more optimized. The more meetings we have, the more energy we would spend on those back-and-forth meeting-time-slot discussions. Isn’t that a waste of energy?… yes it is.

With whom should we share our calendar?

My recommendation is sharing our calendar with people we have a lot of meeting-interaction. Meeting-interaction means that either we are inviting them to many meetings or they are inviting us to many meetings (or both).

Usually those people are our closest team members, meaning our direct subordinates and our manager.

How many details should we allow to be visible?

Outlook provides us 3 modes of sharing:

  • Availability only: this is the default mode. Time will be shown as “Free”, “Busy”, “Tentative”, or “Out of Office”
  • Limited details: includes the availability and subjects of calendar items only
  • Full details: includes the availability and full details of calendar items

If you have decided to share your calendar with a person, provides her/him the full visibility. You should have nothing to hide. If you do have some meetings to hide (privacy reasons), there is a solution for that too, so it should not be an excuse for not allowing the full visibility of your calendar.

In order to block the visibility of a specific meeting, there is the Private option for a meeting. Setting a meeting as private moves that meeting to the “availability only” mode (“Free”, “Busy”, “Tentative”, or “Out of Office”).

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How do we share our Calendar?

Just follow the below:

  • Go to Calendar
  • Go to Home tab
  • Go to the Share section
  • Select “Share Calendar”
  • In the To line, put the person you would like to share with

When you share your calendar with someone, remember to request to view his/her calendar as well. You can do that by checking the “Request permission to view recipient’s Calendar” option.

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Published by

Erez Morabia

I’m an engineer and a leader in the computer software industry which is passionate about leading teams, embracing new technologies and improving soft skills for work efficiency.

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