Even to the most skilled and organised VA, diary management is one of those jobs that always involves a lot of juggling of diaries. If you are trying to arrange a team meeting, or juggle meeting room bookings then the Group Schedules feature in Outlook is certainly something you should know about.
Group schedules let you look at the calendars of multiple team members, resources or public calendars and combine them so that you can identify when everybody is free for a meeting.
You previously had to do this in Outlook by creating a meeting invitation and adding all of the people that you want to view the schedules for. However, in more recent versions you can now do this via Group Schedules, and you can save these schedules for use in the future
Setting up Group Schedules
First of all, browse to the calendar folder where you want to set up the Group Schedule. You can create a Group Schedule in any Calendar folder and also in public calendar folders
Click the Home Tab > Manage Calendars group > Calendar Groups > Add new group
In the dialog box that appears, type a name for your new group
You then see a screen where you can choose group members from the list of contacts in Outlook. Select the email addresses you want to add (Note: hold down CTRL to select multiple users) and then click ‘group members’ to add the names to to the group schedule
You’ll then see all of the calendars appear on your screen, with details of their free and busy information. This view can be accessed in the future under the Home tab > Arrange group > Schedule View
In the sidebar you can see that you group has been saved, and can be expanded and collapsed and the individual calendars toggled on and off. Simply tick or untick the calendars as required to view them in any viewer setting.
This is a really handy way to manage the diaries of multiple team members in an organised way and avoid the messy confusion of having emails pinging backwards and forwards whilst trying to find suitable dates for meetings.