Hi, Microsoft 365 Insiders! My name is Julia Foran and I’m an Architect on the Outlook, focused on Time Management experiences for hybrid workers. I am excited to share with you an improvement we are making to help you better schedule meetings and work with others in hybrid workplaces.
Hybrid meeting management
Work schedules have changed a lot since Outlook was first launched decades ago. We no longer start & end work at the same time every day. We also no longer work from the same place every day. In this new era of modern work where workforces are often distributed, opportunities for unplanned, in-person connection have become more elusive and difficult to manifest. Days are now filled with scheduled meetings – often on a screen.
Though it may sound contradictory, understanding where your colleagues are working allows you to have more spontaneous moments of collaboration. One solution to help lessen the impact of overscheduled meetings is to share where you’re working so more serendipitous and unstructured collaboration can occur.
Microsoft 365 apps and services now provide you with the opportunity to let others know when and where you are working. When they do the same with you, you can accommodate attendees’ locations when scheduling meetings in Outlook, and facilitate spontaneous collaboration in Teams when checking if someone is available to chat in-person.
How it works
- Select Settings > View all Outlook settings > Calendar.
- Choose Work hours and location, and then define your work schedule by choosing days, times, and locations.
NOTE: This new setup experience is currently only available in Outlook on the web, but setting up work hours and location will eventually be available in Teams and Outlook for Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac.
View and update your work location
- When viewing your calendar, select the icon representing your scheduled work location and select another location if needed. The work location can be cleared by simply clicking it.
NOTE: The option to change location per day is currently only available in Outlook on the web, but will eventually be available in Outlook for Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac.
From Teams (coming soon)
- Select the circle icon with your profile picture and change the work location. Notice that the new location will be applied to your work hours for the remainder of the day and reflected in both Outlook and Teams.
View others’ locations
Knowing where others are working from is important for scheduling and collaboration. You can view others’ locations when scheduling from Outlook on the web or when viewing their profile card.
If others have set up their work hours and location, their work location will appear in the Scheduling Assistant.
From the Profile card (coming soon)
If you want to quickly look up where someone is working from, you can view their location in their profile card, next to their availability.
- If you change your time zone, it will not update the time zone of these new, modern working hours. A fix is in development.
- If you want to create a night-shift schedule such that a time slot ends at midnight, you will receive an error. A fix is in development.
- Outlook web calculates the cumulative availability across all attendees and resolves this to a single red or green color to assist with easily finding a time that is free for all attendees (as seen in both the one-day vertical scheduling pane and the full-page horizontal scheduling assistant). Currently, the one-day scheduling pane is not checking modern working hours when resolving availability. A fix is in development.
- When opening and viewing a shared calendar directly from the calendar surface, work locations will not be shown. This is a large feature that is in progress but there is not yet an estimated timeline for release.
- It is not yet possible to create a schedule with alternating weeks, for those with 9/80 schedules. This is a feature that we will support, but not in the initial release.
- This feature is currently only released in Outlook on the web, and it is coming soon to Teams and Profile cards. Work is in-progress to release the same functionality in the other Outlook clients.
Rollout of the feature in Outlook on the web started on May 9, and will complete by the end of May 2023, while the rollout in Teams desktop, web, and mobile will begin in June 2023.
Please leave comments for this feature via the Microsoft Feedback Portal. Here is a link to the specific item for this feature: Option to customize daily working hours and indicate whether working remotely or in-office · Community (microsoft.com)