How to create an Outlook Team Calendar

We are often asked how to create an Outlook Team Calendar to view team calendars, perform employee scheduling and analyse team productivity, 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 as Microsoft themselves show you are limited to groupings of 4 or 5 calendars at a time, which is very limiting. Additionally, there are no facilities to analyze employee or team productivity, availability or capacity in Outlook. You’d need to export data and analyze it manually or use a system such as Timewatch for Outlook, which provides this.

An Outlook shared calendar with four people in view.

How Team Calendars work with Timewatch

With Timewatch, the same Outlook calendars are displayed as a row for each employee. The number of employee calendars and days visible are adjustable, and sort by availability, drag & drop and calendar filtering by skill makes scheduling and managing calendars easy.

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.

Timewatch is an excellent workforce scheduling tool, and its seamless operation with Outlook means employees and schedulers see exactly the same data. Schedulers use Timewatch, and employees use Outlook, it’s the perfect match.

What features does Timewatch add to Outlook

Timewatch’s seamless operation with Outlook operates in the exact same way all Outlook apps on all devices do, seamlessly showing the exact same data on every device – except Timewatch does this at a centrally so schedulers can see, create, update and manage appointments in sync with employees. This brings many enhanced features 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 Add-on provides a streamlined, flexible and scalable way to view any number of Outlook calendars. To create a Timewatch team calendar view with the Timewatch Scheduling App:

  1. From the Timewatch Add-in App in Outlook, click on the Timewatch button
  2. Click on New View, select the employees, employee skills, office, team or other attributes for the people you wish to see
  3. Enter a name for this view and click Save
  4. Your view will now displayed

Timewatch’s Outlook team calendar views show employee Outlook calendars as rows with days as columns.

Scrollable Timewatch 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

With the Timewatch Outlook add-in, employees can choose appointment types they have access to, as well as see the appointment types schedulers allocate. Organizations often have a request system where employees make a vacation request, which schedulers or admin approve, and this information can be used to create an Outlook Vacation Calendar:

  1. From within an Outlook appointment, employees simply open the Timewatch Add-in and set the appointment to a Vacation or Vacation Request.
  2. To view a company or team vacation calendar: click on New View, name it something like ‘Team XYZ Vacation Calendar’, select employees to be included and click save.
  3. In the Appointment Type filter, choose ‘Vacation’ and click Save.
  4. Your Team Vacation Calendar view will now displayed. An example is shown to the right.

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 Timewatch’s Outlook Team Calendar Add-in 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 Timewatch Outlook add-in enhances Outlook so that users can do everything without ever leaving Outlook.

The add-in 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 Add-in 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.

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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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