So, here’s a quick Google Admin trick that will help you set up an Out of Office (OOO) Calendar that’s cheap and won’t break at 75 team members. You can also use this trick to create a general office events (HQ) Calendar.
Note that I’m making some assumptions here
- You likely are or are close with your Google Apps for Business Super Admin
- You have or want to create a cheap effective calendar for OOO or HQ events
- You probably have an unlimited or flexible PTO policy
- You trust your employees to do the right thing
- You need an OOO calendar mostly for scheduling team events and interviews
- Your HRIS doesn’t manage your team’s OOO
The Old Approach to an OOO Calendar
You’ve probably set up an OOO Calendar this way:
- On your computer, open Google Calendar
- On the left side, above "My calendars," click “Add other calendars” and then “New calendar”
- Add a name and description for your calendar: “OOO Calendar”
- Click “Create calendar”
- Click on it in the left bar to share your calendar, then select “Share with specific people”
3 Difficulties with the Old Approach to an OOO Calendar
- This Calendar isn’t automatically visible to everyone in your domain
- So, for every new hire, you need to manually share that calendar with them
- To use this Calendar, your team needs to do something they’ve probably never done before unless they’re a Super Admin, EA, or Recruiter
- They need to change the “Owner” of the event by selecting “OOO Calendar” in the dropdown menu
- To make (2) possible, everyone on your team needs to have editing access to this calendar
- Events start disappearing when everyone has edit access and you reach a large number of employees (75 is a typical breaking point). That’s because many people don’t realize they’re deleting an event for the entire company when they remove an event they’ve personally declined.
The Better Way to Build an OOO Calendar
Start by creating an email address called [email protected] Yes, this will cost you $5 per month (or $4.17 when you have the Basic Annual Plan), but trust me — it’s worth it.
3 Benefits of This Approach
- Anyone in your domain can search for and find it
- You search for it like you would any other email address
- You’ll want to set your Google Admin Calendar External Sharing settings to “Share all information, and allow managing of calendar”
- To use this calendar, your team doesn’t need to learn anything new
- To add an event to this calendar, they only need to add [email protected] as a guest to an event that is on their own calendar
- As a bonus, this forces the team member to have their OOO on their calendar AND the OOO calendar
- To make (2) possible, NOBODY on your team needs to have editing access to the calendar — no more missing events😜
How do I socialize this new OOO Calendar with my team?
Here’s a quick template I drafted to help you educate your team about your new OOO Calendar. Have fun...and then book some personal OOO time to reward yourself for building a better process for your company!
A big shout-out to Jane Stecyk for editing! I couldn't do it without you. If you have questions or want more information on this subject, leave a comment below and I’ll answer. Thanks for reading!
Leia Rollag is OrgOrg's Resources Lead. She recently launched OrgOrg's Annual Compensation and Benchmarking Survey and re-designed the orgorg.co/forum webpage. She is currently the Director of People Operations at Good Eggs. She specializes in operationalizing Human Resources and Total Rewards for software technology companies.