**DISCLOSURE: While I am contracted to Microsoft Corporation, I am not an employee. The articles that I write are not meant to represent the company, nor are they meant to represent me as an employee or spokesman for the company. As has always been the case, all articles on this website represent me and nobody else.
**NOTE: Leslie Falor is a Modern Workplace SME with the Microsoft FastTrack Center. She proof-reads most of the articles on this blog, and recently all of the technical ones. Her help has been invaluable! When recently I posted an article about Microsoft Office Outlook, she told me that she could think of plenty of Outlook-related articles that people would appreciate. I invited her to get cracking on them! For the record, I made much fewer corrections to her article than she usually does to mine! –MDG
When you are going out of the office, the norm is to send an invite to your team, manager, or someone else of importance so that they know you are out of the office for the day, week or if you are lucky, longer than that.
There are many ways of achieving this; one of the least friendly ways of doing so is to have a pop-up appear every day with a reminder that John is out of the office, again, for the 10th day in a row. Or, the out of office appointment blocks out the entire calendar for a week and I have to go in and fix it. Not super friendly. I am all for taking any and all vacation given to you, but let’s be mindful about the co-workers we leave behind. 🙂
So! On to making friendly Out of Office Invites
Step 1: Create a “New Meeting” in Outlook and mark it as “Free” Meeting Invite
Note: Please make sure to remove the reminder and set to “None”
Make sure to set it for “All Day” and set the Start and End dates.
“But Leslie, is there anything to make my life easier? What about all the people who respond to my Out of Office telling me they decline?” Well, let’s turn that off and make our lives better. We are looking for this fun button here (It will look different if the appointment window is small or if the window is maximized):
So this gives you all sorts of options to look at and is generally a good idea to explore for any meeting you send out. For Out of Office meeting invites, you probably don’t want responses back, so you can turn this off.
For other meetings, maybe you don’t want extra people attending your meeting. Here you can disable the ability to Allow Forwarding. But perhaps you want others to propose new times? Configure that here.
Alright! We were kind, we didn’t block out others calendars, we didn’t remind them endlessly that we were going to be gone on a lovely trip to Tahiti. But what about our own calendar? Well, we need to go back in and block that out.
The number one thing NOT to do is go into that meeting invite we just sent out and change the Show As setting from Free to Out of Office. That will send an updated meeting invite to all the people we initially invited and will do exactly what we did not want to do which is, block out their calendar. To prevent this you will need to create a duplicate appointment on your calendar with the Show As set to Out of Office. This will block out your calendar and others will see you are not available.
Oh… and don’t forget to set an Out of Office Reply in your e-mail… but that’s another article