How to create an Outlook Team Calendar

We are often asked how to create an Outlook Team Calendar, perform employee scheduling and analyze team productivity, utilization, availability, capacity, etc.

To create a team calendar view in Outlook:

  1. From your Calendar, in the panel on the left, click on ‘My Calendars’ and ‘Add Calendar’.
  2. Choose ‘From Address Book’ to see a list of people in your team or company.
  3. Choose the people whose calendar you want to view and click OK. The calendars will be added to your ‘My Calendars’ list.
  4. Tick the calendars you want to view, and you’ll now see those calendars added to your screen.
  5. Start scheduling team events!

So yes, you can see multiple employee calendars in Outlook, but it there are limitations. As Microsoft explain in this article you are limited to groupings of 4 or 5 calendars over a couple of days. Additionally, there are no facilities to analyze or report on employee or team productivity, availability or capacity in Outlook.

Timewatch’s Outlook Optics™ overcomes these limitations.

An Outlook shared calendar with four people in view.

How Team Calendars work with Timewatch

With Outlook Optics™ employee Outlook calendars are displayed as a row for each employee in a scrollable grid. The number of employee calendars and days visible are configurable, you can sort calendars by availability, filter employees by skill, drag & drop appointments between calendars and report on any aspect of your organization’s Outlook calendars.

Schedulers can create any number of Views of different groups of employees such as by office, team, skill, etc, any grouping is possible.

As one customer put it:

Outlook calendars displayed in Timewatch, in this example, 6 employees (scrollable) over 2 weeks.

“Right now, we are using Outlook Calendars to manually manage schedules for our engineering team. This involves getting read/write/delete access to every engineer’s Outlook Calendar for all project managers and resource schedulers. Our engineering schedules are constantly shuffling, and this is all done by manually moving appointments on individual calendars. Using Outlook is clunky, we have no reporting, no metrics capabilities on utilization, projections. Using Timewatch with Outlook solved all this for us.”

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Why enhance Outlook team calendar functionality? 

Outlook it is an excellent personal calendar, which most employees keep open all day. It is the ideal calendar platform for employees to manage their schedules, but it is difficult for schedulers to view and update employee schedules using Outlook – and that’s where Timewatch comes in.

Outlook Optics™ makes Outlook a excellent workforce calendar management and scheduling tool. Employees carry on using Outlook as they normally do, but managers, administrators and schedulers use Outlook Optics™ to view and manage calendars – it’s a perfect match.

What features does Timewatch add to Outlook

Outlook Optics™ works seamlessly with Outlook, displaying the exact same appointment data employees see on their Outlook apps and devices, but centrally as a company calendar view of employee calendars. This allows administrators, schedulers and managers to see, create, update and manage appointments centrally, bringing many advantages to Outlook:

  • Greater flexibility in the number of employees and date ranges that can be viewed
  • Ability to save views of teams, skills, regions or any other grouping
  • Ability to categorize appointments by custom types of work and filter views by type – this allows views such as:
    • Team Vacation calendars
    • Customer and Project calendars
    • Views skill, type of work etc.
  • Drag and drop across employee calendars
  • Search, sort and view calendars by employee availability
  • Enhanced scheduling assistant locates employees by skills and availability
  • Add new fields to appointments and report upon them: customer, project, type of work, productive etc.
  • Ability to lock / protect important appointments from being edited in Outlook
  • Conflict management – view and resolve them quickly and easily and stop them from happening
  • Analyse time by person / team by customer, project, type of work etc
  • View calendar reports and analytics

How to create an Outlook Team Calendar with Timewatch

Timewatch’s Outlook Optics™ provides a streamlined, flexible and scalable way to view any number of Outlook calendars. To create a Timewatch team calendar view:

  1. From the Outlook Optics™, click on New View button
  2. Enter the name of the view you want to create
  3. Select the employees you wish to see in this view
  4. Your view will now displayed

Scrollable Outlook group calendar view over two weeks. The height of calendars and width of the days are configurable, allowing views to be set to the perfect mix of density and detail.

Views can be configured to show anything from just a few people to around 30 people, over a few days to a few months. Search, filter and sort facilities make it easy to find people with the necessary skills and availability.

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How to create an Outlook Vacation Calendar

Using filtering facilities within Outlook Optics™ it’s easy to create special purpose views such views by employee skills, work for a specific customer, project and all employees with upcoming vacation, or with a certain type of work. For example, to create a Vacation calendar:

  1. Click on the create New View button.
  2. Click on the Add/Remove rows button, and choose All Employees.
  3. Click on the Appointment Type filter button, choose ‘Vacation’ and click Save.
  4. Your Team Vacation Calendar view will now displayed. An example is shown to the right.

Note: users specify appointments as “Vacation” via the Outlook Optics™ Outlook plugin, which supports PC, Mac and OWA.

The Outlook team vacation calendar shows all employees with ‘Vacation’ in the date range viewed. The view is dynamic – automatically adding and removing, employees as the the date range in view is changed.

This team vacation calendar shows only people with vacation in their calendar. Other appointment types are shown hashed out so you can see where they have other items on their calendar. This filter type view can be used with any appointment type.

How Outlook Optics™ Team Calendar works

Timewatch works seamlessly with Outlook and does not change how your employees use Outlook, everything happens in the background. Schedulers and managers receive new functionality to see consolidated views of employees’ Outlook calendars.

The system starts by showing a view of All calendars over two weeks, but this is configurable. You can create additional views with sub-sets of employees, perhaps by team, office, region, skill, or any other type of grouping you need. There are also a number of view styles of formats, these include: Summary and Detailed views, Stats views (such as productivity, capacity, availability) and Data views. You can create any number of views, which makes it easy to jump between views showing different groups, of different styles, over different date ranges.

Timewatch operates in real-time. As users make appointments in their calendar, they are visible in the Timewatch views automatically.

Outlook plug-in enhances team scheduling within Outlook

The Outlook Optics™ plugin adds facilities to Outlook so that users can do everything without ever leaving Outlook.

The plugin allows employees to add important company data to appointments. Information such as: type of work, customer / project / product / course or any other important data needed on appointments.

If work is scheduled for them, at the click of a button users can see what type of work, which customer / project it is for an any other important information associated with the appointment. This data can also be used for automatic time tracking, saving users hours each week.

With Timewatch’s Outlook add-in users see and can add important company data within Outlook, without ever needing to login to or learn another system.

How the Timewatch Outlook plugin also adds ZERO effort time tracking

By using Timewatch’s Outlook Add-in, users get zero effort time tracking – for free.

With Timewatch’s Outlook add in, we have everthing needed to turn an Outlook appointments into a timesheet. Effectively users get timesheet entry with zero extra effort.

Just by turning on our timesheet functionality, Timewatch can automatically or semi-automatically post Outlook appointments to employees’ timesheets.

Timewatch’s Outlook add-in saves employees hours each week from manual timesheet entry, and as non-appointment time can also be added to timesheets from within Outlook, users never need to leave Outlook to login to another system to complete their timesheet. Effectively the Timewatch add-in turns Outlook into a timesheet system. Customers report savings of 2-4 hours per person per week, or 1-2 days a month. That’s a lot of extra time available for productive or chargeable work.

By using Timewatch’s Outlook add-in users also get timesheets for zero effort – yes, zero effort. By using the Timewatch Outlook add-in for scheduling, Timewatch can automate timesheet entry, and save users 2-4 hours a week.

Screenshots of functions Timewatch can add to Outlook

Questions and Answers

Can employees schedule themselves?

Yes, employees can schedule themselves, and when they do, everything they schedule is available to view and report upon within Timewatch.

Can employees be scheduled centrally?

Yes, Timewatch can operate as a two-way system, allowing schedulers, administrators and team managers to create appointments centrally for individual or multiple people. If you take the time to specify people’s skills and attributes, the system can help you search and locate employees by skill and availability. The system actually locates and suggests people who have the necessary skills and availability for the job.

What platforms does the Timewatch Add-in run on?

Timewatch runs on all platforms including PC, Mac and Linux. Our Outlook plugin supports PC and Mac versions of Outlook as well as OWA (the web version of Outlook). The system is also supports mobile and tablet versions of Outlook.

Who is Timewatch?

Timewatch are specialists professional services solutions including employee scheduling software, resource scheduling, time tracking and professional services automation software. We are experts in Outlook and Outlook integration as we develop our tools to work closely with Microsoft Office 365, particularly Outlook. We aim to enhance Outlook and improve upon standard facilities such as Outlook Group Calendars. For example, our Whitespace® for Outlook system has one or two-way sync with Outlook to ensure workers see work scheduled for them and schedulers can see what people schedule in their calendars creating a truly collaborative calendar system based on Outlook. We also sync with Outlook and use calendar data in people’s timesheet – which saves them several hours each month. As we work closely with Outlook, we track developments and pre-releases to ensure our products remain compatible with new releases from Microsoft.

Contact us

To see how Whitespace® can help your organization improve employee scheduling with our Outlook scheduling tools. Book a free call or live product walk through with a product specialist using the form to the right.

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Learn more about Outlook Team Calendar and Employee scheduling

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