Category Archives: Scheduling

How to Manage the Influx of Back-to-School New Customers

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New Customers; Busy Hair Salon

Students aren’t the only ones who deal with back-to-school stress — an appointment-based business can, too. Whether you operate a hair salon or a healthcare facility, you may be affected by an increase in new customers as the school year begins. Consequently, a busier schedule is a great opportunity for business but can also lead to stress and turmoil if managed improperly.

Is your business feeling unprepared for an increase in appointments? Here are a few ways you can prepare for the influx of customers as students return to campus.

Prepare Your Staff

A happy customer starts with a happy employee. While businesses enjoy customer satisfaction, it’s important you aren’t sacrificing your employees’ happiness as a result. As a result, an increase in appointments can lead to employees deferring their own needs.

Whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment or a therapy session, make sure your employees still feel comfortable taking time off when needed. To prioritize your employees’ well-being, start by providing a healthy work environment your employees feel comfortable being a part of.

One way to reduce the stress of your employees could be to offer additional paid time off. An overstuffed schedule can lead to employee burnout.

Reward your employees for taking on ample new appointments by providing them with the relaxation they deserve. After some time off, they will come back less stressed and more welcoming toward new clients.

Offer Deals on Services

For many college students, going back to school also means relocating to another city or state. Searching for a new hair salon, doctor’s office, or therapist can be overwhelming, especially when those services are expensive.

Relieve stress for new clients on tight budgets by offering deals on your services and loyalty program discounts. Extending special appointment deals to new student clients can make them feel better about choosing your business.

Special discounts are a great reward to give as an appointment-based business.

For example, if you own a beauty salon, you could give a first-time bonus to new customers for your initial services. This could include a free eyebrow wax, bonus facial massage, or a discounted haircut. Such offers not only help your customers save money, they also allow them to become familiar with your services.

Therefore, start cycling these deals for birthdays and anniversaries to continue to pique interest in your company.

Balance Scheduled and Walk-In Appointments

The arrival of new clients can lead to long wait times, which can ultimately turn away both new and current clients. Prevent losing your customers to competitors by properly balancing your scheduled and walk-in appointments.

If you do accept walk-ins, try limiting the range of services you provide to those without a scheduled appointment.

For example, if you own a tattoo studio, only offer to accept walk-ins if the client needs a touch-up or consultation. If they’re seeking a more time-consuming service, make them an appointment for a later date. That way, you avoid increasing the wait time of customers already on your schedule.

If your business doesn’t accept walk-in appointments, make sure this is clearly stated to avoid annoying would-be customers.

Turn this policy into a positive opportunity for new customers by giving them an incentive to schedule in advance. You might provide a coupon to those who make their first appointment online or offer a bonus service for booking in advance. Either is a great way to keep your clients satisfied without overworking your employees.

Keep Information Updated and Relevant

Save your customers hassle by ensuring your business’s information is updated and easily accessible.

Try looking at your business from a client perspective to see where your company can improve. Review your company website to see whether it states your current business hours and provides the location information they need to visit your business.

Update any required online customer information forms and ensure all links navigate to the correct pages. Many times, your online presence is your customer’s first impression of your business. Avoid phone calls from confused prospects by tidying up your site’s information.

To remain relevant to your new customers, your business must stay current with the latest technologies.

Update any outdated tech so that you can handle more customer traffic without the pain of slow response times or server crashes. Robust appointment software that enables automated email reminders and calendar sync options can make your business run more smoothly.

With help from these technologies, you can take on more customers and retain old ones, thereby increasing business revenue.

Appreciate Your Increased Business

Back-to-school season is a great time to boost revenue and build loyalty among customers and employees.

It can also be a joyful experience for college students, as they embrace the adventure of a new school year. You’ll do right by customers new and old if you prepare your business for the influx and attend to your staff’s needs. By following the tips above, you can optimize your back-to-school customer experience.

Featured Image Credit: David Geib; Pexels.com. Thank you!

How to Schedule Alternative Activities to Limit Kids’ Screen Time

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schedule alternative activities

Every time you turn around, your kids are staring at a smartphone or screen. Of course, they like playing video games, texting with friends, watching television, and surfing the internet on the computer. But that can become much lost time without interacting or participating in physical activity.

There are ways to reduce your children’s screen time. Parents need to understand the importance of setting rules and reducing screen time by limiting when children can use the computer, TV, and smartphone. One way to do this is to suggest alternative activities that you can schedule on your online calendar to reduce screen time.

Here are ways to reduce the time your children spend on technology screens and alternative activities to consider.

Time For a Family Meeting

The first step to getting everyone on board with new rules for technology is to hold a family meeting. You should explain why it is essential to establish rules for the family about tech use. This is an excellent time to note that the goal is for everyone to sit less and move more. Tech use isn’t a reward or punishment but a form of entertainment with limits. For example, young children can use a cell phone for kids that doesn’t come with the internet, social media, or games.

The idea here is to explain that these rules are intended to improve your time together. As a family, everyone must commit to limiting screen time. There may be some exceptions, such as using the computer for homework or work. That does not count against your entertainment time. But everyone in the family, including adults, must be held to the same standard.

Set Screen Time Limits and Stick to Them

A house rule must limit the amount of screen time spent on smartphones, TVs, and video games. Health experts recommend two hours a day, but you can set your own limits. Maybe it is one hour. Perhaps you decide three hours is appropriate for your family. Whatever you decide, the entire family must be on board to keep screen time down to a finite time. Schedule these times on your online calendar and ensure everyone sticks to them.

Once the rule is established, make sure you follow it. Children know when their parents are not practicing what they preach. They will follow your lead. Make sure everyone knows the penalty for breaking the rule. Decide if they must pay into a family entertainment fund or lose tech privileges.

Encourage Completing Chores for Screen Time

If your child is old enough to take advantage of screen time, they likely are old enough to handle chores. Establish a set of chores for your child around the house. Schedule the time they work on them on your online calendar and when they complete them. Performing these chores helps the family, offers an alternative to staring at a screen, and provides an opportunity to reward your child.

Consider offering them a bit more screen time if they go above and beyond with chores. But be careful. The idea here is to reduce screen time, so try not to offer ways to increase it too much.

Create Family Time for Physical Activities

A great way to reduce your family’s screen time is to find alternative physical activities. For example, you can plan family walks or visit the community pool. Start a family bowling night or an exercise challenge. Find a way to offer alternative activities to your children that will reduce their dependence on screen time.

You can track the amount of time spent on physical activities and tech use each week on your online calendar. Consider the hours spent watching TV, playing video games, and using the computer. Compare that to the time spent doing physical activities. Chances are you’ll find the screen time surpasses the time doing physical activities. If so, meet as a family to discuss ways you can increase your physical activities.

Not all physical activities must be done together, although family time is fun. Give your children credit for playing outside with friends. Perhaps your children are involved in sports at school or in the community. Count that, too. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for your time at the gym.

Make Sure Your Children Get Outdoors

An alternative to screen time can be spending more time outdoors. To encourage your child to get out more, look for ways to nurture new hobbies. For example, teach them how to plant and care for a garden. Teach them how to care for your swimming pool. Expose them to the thrill of working on cars, maybe just cleaning them or changing the oil.

You can create a schedule for these outdoor activities in your online calendar and try different things. You might help your child discover a passion that turns into a life-long career.

Engage as You Enjoy Screen Time Together

There are ways to spend family time together while watching television. Plan a movie night together, something everyone will enjoy. Make special treats for the family to ensure that time is special. If you see TV ads for unhealthy foods or promoting new personal devices, discuss those. Help your children understand the difference between junk food and healthy meals.

You can also add physical activities to your tech use. For example, create a competition with push-ups or jumping jacks during commercials. The winner picks the next movie. Inspire your children by doing stretches, yoga, or dumbbell lifts while watching TV. You can increase your family’s time with physical activities while enjoying television together.

Establish “Tech-Free” Zones in Your Home

You decide when and where your children access technology. That means you need rules preventing access to tech in certain areas of your home. For example, ensure there is no tech at the kitchen table for any meal. Meal time is when families can discuss their day and stay connected.

Keep computers and televisions out of bedrooms. This is an excellent way to ensure everyone sticks to the tech time limits. But it also helps you monitor what your children watch and browse. You can also keep smartphones out of bedrooms or require them to be surrendered before bedtime.

Provide Alternatives to Screen Time

Families can do many activities together that don’t require technology. Consider going to a park together. Attend a sporting event together. Encourage your children to try hobbies that occupy their afternoons and weekends, and schedule these activities on your online calendar.

Children can learn to appreciate hobbies at an early age. Take them to a local theater production and ask if they would consider joining a youth theater group. Sign up for an art class and take your child to see if they would enjoy learning more. Offer to pay for music lessons so they can explore learning an instrument.

Other traditional options are to consider, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, school clubs, and volunteering. They teach the value of volunteer service and plant a seed of service that your child will appreciate as an adult.

There are many ways to reduce your family’s screen time. Think of this as an opportunity to build new memories together.

Better Content Management Using Your Online Calendar

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Content Calendar

Whenever marketers talk about marketing and begin to construct a content calendar, there’s a phrase they like to throw out. And that phrase is “Content is king.”

It’s believed that Bill Gates coined the phrase back in 1996. And, it turns out, he was right. When you consistently create valuable content, it builds meaningful relationships with your audience. It also improves brand recognition and establishes you as an industry thought leader. Content is also crucial for SEO and marketing your products and services.

Here’s the thing, though. For content to reign supreme, you need to take a strategic approach. In other words, you can’t just wake up and wing it. For instance, by sharing random social media posts or writing a blog post for the sake of having content on your site.

Instead, it needs to be relevant. And more importantly, it needs to sync with your long-term goals.

While it is essential, this can be time-consuming. Thankfully, you can use your calendar for better content management.

Content Calendars: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

In terms of content planning, a content calendar is simply a spreadsheet or calendar that details the content you will be publishing over the next few weeks, months, or even years. Besides giving you a quick overview of your content schedule, your content Calendar can also be shared with your team to keep them informed.

Your blog probably doesn’t need a content calendar if it’s just a hobby. However, staying organized is crucial if you’re using content marketing to grow your business.

Your content marketing strategy can benefit from content calendars in the following ways:

Keeps you organized and saves you time.

You can compile your ideas with a content calendar whenever you have the time. As a result, you won’t need to multitask. As a result, you can spend your time on other things instead of wasting time on ideation and creation.

Ensures you post regularly and on time.

In social media and SEO, consistency is the key and is rewarded with better metrics. As well as keeping your audience hooked, consistent content can help you recall your brand more effectively. For example, to make your audience feel more personalized, you can select specific events, holidays, or seasons that are important to them and post accordingly.

Collaboration is made easier with your content calendar. 

With most calendars, you can collaborate with the calendar and have multiple editors and creators on the same calendar by using team collaboration tools. Team members can stay informed and work together more effectively this way.

Errors and mistakes are reduced for you and your whole team.

It is easier to proofread multiple times when everything is planned and organized well before time. Furthermore, since numerous eyes are on the content calendar, mistakes are spotted quickly and corrected immediately.

You can develop your strategies for distributing content and using social media.

By keeping everything in one place, you can keep track of all the activities on your social media. By thinking long-term, you can devise strategies for what to do next.

It keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends.

A comment on a trending topic will always get you more traction than a non-trending one. You can make content according to all the trends when you use a content calendar. Instagram hashtag contests could be a simple example.

Tracking and improving content performance is made easier with it.

You can identify gaps and improve upon them quickly when you keep track of your daily or weekly activities. A/B tests can help you determine the content mix that gets your audience the most attention using your calendar.

Content Calendar Best Practices

Content management strategies can be made more successful by developing a content calendar. These tips will help you create steady content that meets your marketing goals and elevate your organization’s content calendar.

Pick a format you like.

For hosting your content calendar, you can use a variety of platforms. For example, you can use a spreadsheet, content management software, or a calendar app. It really depends on what works best for you and your peeps.

If you want to track more than just deadlines, a traditional calendar may not be the right tool. If this is the case, a spreadsheet might be a better alternative. Why? Because you can neatly organize everything into columns and rows. And this lets you include more information about each piece of content, such as the author, keywords, current status, and links.

Calendar and project management functions are included in content management software such as Asana and Trello. To improve your team’s efficiency, you can also use spreadsheets alongside these tools.

Come up with content ideas.

After identifying the correct format and tools, the next step is brainstorming content ideas. In addition to being topics that fit your brand persona, they should address any concerns your audience may have and demonstrate your expertise in your field.

Looking for some inspiration? To get you started, here are some ideas:

  • Regular blog posts.
  • Videos, webinars, or how-to guides.
  • A recurring post, series, or theme, such as Motivation Monday.
  • Case studies.
  • Customer success stories.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Make use of popular culture, news, holidays, or trends.
  • Reading lists.
  • Product or service launches.
  • Interview with a leader in your industry or business.
  • Business behind-the-scenes.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Upcoming industry events

Also, to save time, look for ways to repurpose existing content. A blog post on how to use your product could be turned into a video, for example.

To schedule content as far in advance as possible, you should come up with enough ideas. At least a six-month supply of ideas is ideal for me. But, there are some content ideas that I can plan further out. For instance, I can map out a content marketing strategy for the holidays a year or so in advance since key dates are pretty much set in stone.

Identify the channels and frequency of your publications.

Decide where and when to publish your content once you’ve brainstormed ideas. After all, there will be a different purpose for each channel. Using varying content means your content is written and relevant, uniquely suited differently to each channel.

Blog

Your business and industry insights are published as “how-to” content. A blog post should be published every day, ideally. The best thing you can do is share 1 to 3 quality posts a week if this isn’t possible.

Website

Using landing pages, videos, and gated content can improve your credibility. In addition, it improves your search engine optimization. If your business or industry changes, this type of content only needs to be updated once it is created.

Social Media Networks

You can promote your new content on these channels, build brand awareness, and engage your audience through social media channels. Depending on the channel, the frequency changes; Facebook once or twice a day, Twitter three times daily, LinkedIn once per day, Instagram 1.5 times per day, and Pinterest five times per day.

Video Sharing Sites

YouTube has become a great chance to mix your content up a little. YouTube is used to upload explainers, training, and interview videos (or even something funny about your company or brand). You can publish videos as often as you feel necessary. Don’t start thinking you can do a video every day if you haven’t made these vids before. Making YouTubes are hard to keep up with every day. Choose a weekly or every other week schedule to start out — depending on your audience. You will need to plan long video sessions where you get several done for your upcoming calendar obligations.

Emails

Content such as newsletters, press releases, surveys, and seasonal content should be tailored to specific audience segments. Find the best time for your emails through A/B testing. Avoid annoying your audience by sending arbitrarily timed emails.

Develop a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy will help you achieve the best results from your content calendar. The first step is to determine your goals each quarter or year. Then, if you’re stuck, ask the following questions:

  • What is a content creator, and why do you create content?
  • Do you want your blog to attract more traffic?
  • Are you looking for more leads?
  • Do you want to be a thought leader in your field?

It is crucial to identify your goals before creating any content, determining where and when it should be published and how often it should be published.

Next, determine who will be involved in the content. Setting up team roles will help you determine how much content you can put out based on your team’s capacity, whether you have a dedicated content marketing team or outsource. During this stage, a content planner can be helpful.

To determine your context mix: and the type of content you will create, you need to identify your goals and establish who will be involved in the process. In order to get the best results, you should set up a consistent posting schedule.

Map out your content calendar.

The next step is to create a content calendar based on your content creation process and content marketing strategy. Depending on your business, your calendar will differ. To keep everything cohesive, you should only plan 2-3 months ahead. It’s also possible for content ideas and goals to change.

Here are some things you might want to include in your content calendar:

  • Title or Topic
  • Due Date
  • Publish Date & Time
  • Writer/Author
  • Target Keyword
  • Content Description
  • Promotional Channels
  • Notes & Resources
  • Status
  • Links

A calendar may also help map everything out. As Choncé Maddox explains, “I like to set up days dedicated to brainstorming, outlining, creating/scheduling, polishing, and promoting. Yes, the content production process is pretty tedious, but having a solid plan laid out in writing can make all the difference.”

Additionally, you can use your calendar to “set reminders to hold yourself accountable for meeting specific deadlines and allowing yourself enough time to prepare what you need to complete the content.”

Schedule posts.

“Once you’ve organized everything in your editorial calendar, you have another useful tool at your disposal,” suggests Max Palmer in a previous Calendar post. “Most blog platforms allow you to schedule posts to go live at a specified date.” Content for the upcoming weeks and months can be created by your team and scheduled to publish at the appropriate time. You can schedule posts for social media as well.

“Dashboard services like HootSuite allow you to enter posts and schedule them to go live on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or all three at the same time,” he adds. “By always working in advance, a team also has the opportunity to tweak posts as needed before they go public.”

Promote and measure.

The final stage of creating a content calendar is promoting the content. Again, the most effective way to achieve maximum results is to plan a consistent posting schedule. Also, figure out what promotional channels you’re using and when.

You can measure your content’s success in a variety of ways. For example, you might measure brand awareness, lead generation, or SEO depending on your content marketing goals. Then, to plan for the next quarter, track these metrics consistently every quarter.

Be sure to leverage both web and social analytics, as well as revenue data. With this information, you can optimize existing content, such as titles, introductions, outbound links, etc., to increase visits and engagement.

The Bottom Line

There is no one-step formula for creating a quality content calendar. However, to achieve the best results, you must plan, create, complete (along with the image and SEO), and post steady content regularly. With a content calendar, you will remain organized, facilitate team collaboration, keep on top of deadlines, and increase your content marketing success.

This article was originally published on Calendar.com. Image Credit: Judit Peter; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Ways to Use Your Online Calendar to Manage Your Kid’s Schedules

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use your online calendar

By using your online calendar, you can more easily manage your kid’s schedules. While it’s true that kids don’t have to worry about keeping a job, paying bills, or anything else, they still stay incredibly busy. School hours are long and filled with a myriad of classes and activities. Outside of school, they’ll want to pursue extracurricular activities, hang out with friends, and find time to play video games. That’s a lot of stuff to make time for. Here’s how to manage your kid’s schedules with your online calendar.

Parents and kids alike can benefit a lot from using an online calendar. This tool helps parents to keep track of each child’s schedule and help them to plan out their time more efficiently. The skills cultivated through calendar use will last a lifetime.

This guide aims to help parents manage their kids’ schedules a little better. The following are examples of how online calendar features can help organize schedules and manage time more effectively for both parent and child:

1. Differentiate Each Schedule

The first struggle with managing the schedules of multiple kids is keeping track of each of them separately. Each child falls under a different age group and will participate in various events than their siblings. Parents can easily get mixed up and feel stressed out trying to juggle everything.

Online calendars can help even the busiest of families to keep everything straight. Try using a color-coding tool to differentiate the schedule of each child. This way, a quick glance will inform you which child needs to be in which location and at what time on any given day.

Another option is to create multiple calendars, one for each kid. Then, you can share each Calendar with yourself and create different views. In addition, you can toggle each Calendar individually, so there’s less of a mess going on when you just need to review the day for one specific child.

2. Sync With Your Own Calendar

Your own schedule is essential when trying to manage the programs and plans of others, especially members of your own family. Too many parents miss a dance recital or sports championship match because they’re tied up with work or other personal commitments. You only get one chance to raise a child, so sync up your Calendar with theirs so you can be with them every step of the way.

When you sync up your personal Calendar with the one you’ve made for your kids, you can align schedules more efficiently. For example, suppose the deadline of an upcoming work project coincides with a parent-teacher conference. In that case, you can check that in advance and make necessary adjustments to get the work done early. As a result, you won’t lose a step in your professional space while still making time for your family.

Syncing with a partner’s Calendar allows for these same benefits, especially when driving commitments needs to be planned and discussed. You can even consider sharing calendar events with grandparents, friends, and other family members. This will allow them to attend events or enlist their help with things like carpooling.

3. Keep Track of Deadlines and Commitments

Adulthood is notorious for being full of deadlines and responsibilities not associated with the carefree living that is childhood. While that might be true to an extent, kids still have essential deadlines and commitments they need to keep. Whether it’s a homework assignment or a playdate with a friend, an online calendar will help kids manage all of the deadlines and commitments on their schedule.

The first reason why this is important is that it teaches your kids valuable lessons. They are expected to hold their end of a commitment, and there are consequences for failing to do so. They’ll also learn practical skills in time management and hard work when working toward deadlines they have set in their Calendar.

Just remember, they’re still kids at the end of the day. Staying focused all day is a challenge even for adults. An online calendar allows you to view their deadlines and commitments. In addition, you can lend a helping hand by setting reminders for them as the due dates approach.

4. Find the Right Balance

Kids certainly benefit from staying active. Having a lot of activities planned keeps them off of their devices and out of general trouble. However, kids can also get burnt out or overworked when they have too much on their plate. With an online calendar, you can help them find the right balance between being busy and getting adequate downtime.

One of the Calendar’s most significant features is its calendar analytics. This tool tracks every event you put into your Calendar and gets time usage data for you to look at. For example, you can see just how many hours have been spent at soccer practice. If the hours start to look overwhelming, you can start looking for a club that plays fewer games and is less demanding.

Finding the right balance with an online calendar may include intentionally planning downtime for your children. You can just as easily block off some time for reading as you can create an event for summer camp. With essential tasks like reading time (especially with very young children) and family dinners written in a calendar — you won’t overwrite them with more busy things.

Time doesn’t slow down for everyone, but you can learn to manage it better through the prolonged use of an online calendar. So start using your Calendar today, and soon enough, you’ll be a master at balancing schedules and making time for every important person, place, and thing in your life.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thanks! 

4 Ways to Use Your Online Calendar to Manage Your Kid’s Schedules was originally published on Calendar by .

6 Astronomical Events to Add to Your Calendar

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astronomical events

While astronomical events happen so often, rarer events have been happening here on earth. With the pandemic and social distancing mandates, life has been challenging. But even as we’ve struggled, the earth has continued to move forward.

Planets still rotate, the sun sets, and the Moon rises. However, some of the most astronomical events have occurred in the last few years. For instance, there was a blue moon on Halloween in 2020. Did you see it? If not, you’ll have to wait until 2039 for that to happen again. But don’t worry, many astronomical events are coming up this year. You just have to make sure you see them.

Thankfully, we live in a time of online calendars. So instead of missing out on events, you want to witness — you can create events and even set reminders to ensure you don’t miss what’s important to you. Here are a few events you may want to add to your calendar.

1. Planets Align

When: June 24, 2022

On June 24th, there will be a rare astronomical event where the planets (Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn) will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. They will also appear in order from nearest to the furthest from the sun. Remember that the planets won’t be in line in the solar system — they will just appear that way to us on Earth. The Moon will also look to be aligned with the planets between Venus and Mars.

This alignment will occur before sunrise on June 24th across the eastern side of the Earth. And like mentioned, you won’t need a microscope to view it. Just walk outside and look up.

2. Southern Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower

When: July 28 – August 9, 2022

The Southern Delta Aquariids are a meteor shower best visible in the southern United States. This shower gets its name because of how it radiates in the constellation Aquarius. While the meteor shower typically takes place annually between the end of July and August, this year will be different.

At the shower’s peak, between July 28 – August 9, 2022, there will also be a new moon, which happens when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun. With a new moon comes darker skies and a clearer look at the meteor. Keep in mind that the shower will be most visible from mid-evening to dawn, highest around 2 a.m.

3. Jupiter Opposition

When: September 26, 2022

During astronomical autumn (September 22 – December 21), Jupiter will appear more visible than at any other time. This is called the “Jupiter Opposition,” because the planet will appear opposite of the sun, making it look bigger to us on Earth. However, Jupiter will also appear brighter because of its proximity to Earth.

According to research, the best time to see and photograph a planet is when it’s in opposition. And while Jupiter will be more visible during the entire season, it’ll reach its peak visibility on September 26th. So to ensure you get the best photo, aim to take the picture when it’s high in the sky, and there aren’t any clouds.

4. Fireballs With Northern Taurid Meteor Shower

When: November 11-November 12, 2022

The Northern Taurid meteor shower will be active from late October to mid-December of this year. This meteor shower happens annually and typically only produces a few meteors per hour. This year, however, will be different.

During the peak of the shower (between November 11-November 12), bright fireballs will appear in the sky. A fireball is a meteor but much brighter to the naked eye.

These fireballs accompany the Northern Taurid meteor shower once every seven years. So, if you miss it this year, you’ll have to wait until 2029.

5. Mars Opposition

When: December 8, 2022

On December 8, Mars will appear more visible and bright — the perfect time to take a photograph. Mars is one of the closest planets to Earth but will be opposite the sun in December, illuminating the sky all night. This is an astronomical event you don’t want to miss, especially considering Mars is one of the smallest planets in the solar system. It’s rare for this planet to appear bigger than the rest.

Similar to other oppositions, this one doesn’t happen often. The next time won’t be until January 2025.

6. First Supermoon

When: June 14, 2022

Well, I didn’t get this one edited to publish until today — so we all missed the Supermoon and the Strawberry moon. Even Forbes wrote about the Supermoon and Strawberry Moon. And I’m mad it wasn’t on my Calendar! A supermoon is pretty much what it sounds like — when the Moon looks bigger than usual. While the Moon doesn’t change in size, a supermoon happens when a full moon occurs at the closest point to Earth during its orbit. Not only does this make the Moon look larger, but brighter as well.

Supermoons aren’t rare, but they don’t happen all the time. That’s because a full moon only occurs once every 29.5 days. That said, not every full Moon is a supermoon since it has to also pass close to Earth. Therefore, a supermoon only happens a couple of times a year. So to make sure you don’t miss out, set a reminder for the next Supermoon on June 14, 2022.

Here are the dates for the future moons in 2022. Add them to your Calendar.

DATE TIME Nickname

July 13 2:37 p.m. Buck Moon

Aug. 11. 9:35 p.m. Sturgeon Moon

Sept. 10. 5:59 a.m. Harvest Moon

Oct. 9. 4:54 p.m. Hunter’s Moon

Nov. 8. 6:02 a.m. Beaver Moon

Dec. 7. 11:08 p.m. Cold Moon

Conclusion

The events above are worth seeing whether you’re an aspiring astronaut or a casual observer. Not only are they known to be breath-taking but also rare.

So to ensure you don’t miss out on these events, take the time to set reminders now. Then, all you have to do is add the events to your online Calendar. Not only will this visually remind you, but you can even set up calendar notifications beforehand.

How to Schedule Remote and Office Work

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office working

Many of us have become used to working in hybrid work environments– whether it be in-office work or remote work– and also balancing personal life. Companies are focused on returning employees to work and many have worked through the challenges of the remote “era.”

Some companies have taken an approach of “okay, we went easy on you during covid — but now it’s time to get back to the office.” After the epidemic, just 46% of firms would accept remote work. Others have returned to the office or embraced a hybrid paradigm that allows remote and in-office work.

Companies and employees know how to work from the office and everyone learned how to shift and work remotely during the pandemic — but may still struggle with the hybrid approach and there’s no need to worry. Just learn how to do the hybrid work better.

Obtain the best of both worlds and utilize the hybrid work option

Desire the convenience of working remotely with the benefits of visiting your coworkers for the best results.

How to explain your option of a mixed schedule

For a hybrid work model to function for your organization and workers, it must be planned and purposeful.

Begin by choosing a model that fits your business. You may not get it right at first but choose one. The cohort schedule is arguably the simplest. You can build on this schedule after you know what works for you and your company.

Don’t apply a remote and office work hybrid schedule randomly

Introduce a one-day policy or a WFH policy. You may tweak and develop your model over time. It’s also wise to test your hybrid model on a small group of individuals before rolling it out to the whole company.

Record your work habits and that of your team. You may think of it as your company’s hybrid work manifesto. For example, is it simpler to brief everyone in writing, over Slack, or in a once-a-week, face-to-face meeting over Zoom< How will you handle something like onboarding new personnel?

Finally, choose the tools you will use to manage your varied work schedule. Therefore, apart from communication platforms (like Slack), you’ll need project management and reporting tools to guarantee everyone is on the same page.

Scheduling Remote Workers, Hybrid Employees, and Office Work Best Practices

If you’re ready to start using hybrid work in your workplace, some helpful habits, tools, and strategies are everywhere for you to take advantage of. You’ll want to manage hybrid work gaps — from policies to documentation, continuing education, and the specific tools you will all use consistently.

Here are a few notable areas to check for your hybrid employees.

1. Define KPIs

KPIs are your key performance indicators and the best way to see your staff’s effectiveness. For example, sales calls, articles created, and support tickets resolved will be some of your KPIs from the past that will still be relevant.

2. Adequate tools — still a must

Using platforms like Slack or Zoom to interact with your team is easy. Starting with Google Workspace is an excellent start, but it has limits. The best technologies allow your employees to operate productively and collaboratively from home. Yes, you may have to kiss a few frogs (as they say), but ask for suggestions from your team. And maybe the communication method you’ve always used with remote issues is fine. But check it out.

3. Set up schedules (and stick to them)

If you use a cohort or staggered schedule, have everything in writing and it to your online team calendar. However, understand that your staff will know exactly when and where they will be working — so ask them. As a manager, set an example — let your team know where you are and ensure that you keep to your timetable, or let someone know.

4. Decide how and when to communicate

Many hybrid and remote businesses use asynchronous communication, where workers respond to contacts when they are available. This is only one form of communication, so ensure there is a document where everything is written down and employees can refer back to it.

Determine the appropriate and type of communication for your requirements. You can use Zoom for customer-facing conversations and Slack for internal business calls. You can also send emails or put messages in your project management application.

Avoidable errors in your remote schedules and office work requirements

Rethinking your workplace has its own set of issues. Here are some frequent pitfalls to avoid while implementing or improving a remote-hybrid model.

Schedules may boost productivity, cooperation, and teamwork even while working out the issues associated with such implementations.

1. Not everyone follows the same rules — big rule breaker

When creating a hybrid schedule, one rule must apply to everybody.

It’s disheartening to work in an office 3–5 days a week while senior management works remotely full time. Therefore, all workers must follow the same rules to maintain a fair game where everyone wins.

2. Using outdated productivity tracking techniques

Monitoring employee productivity via invasive time-tracking or screen-recording equipment is obsolete. Understand that your employees will not only feel betrayed by your invasive behavior — but over-monitoring will hamper their productivity and career advancement.

3. Forgetting it — a huge error

Your model’s effectiveness requires constant innovation in hybrid methods and procedures. Include and fairly treat all members of your team. Monitor their reactions to the new structure. Your workers should not feel unjustly treated or that you favor a particular team. Create a timetable that meets each employee’s demands.

4. Offering possibilities based on hybrid workplace presence

Depending on how your employees live, some individuals can afford to be more present at work. Others, like parents or caregivers, cannot come as frequently. Therefore, as long as everyone does their job effectively and on schedule, everyone should develop their own career path. Never penalize individuals because they cannot be in the workplace more since this defeats the objective of a hybrid model and timetable.

5. Managing schedules

Companies let managers lead the way when experimenting with flexible work options. Many of them forced their staff into the workplace for no understandable reason and the timetable disappointed these employees.

If you have just implemented a hybrid model — don’t micromanage your staff. Micromanaging from a company or employer  can be so difficult that employees will resign. Make your company rules and follow them. And use scheduling apps whenever possible.

6. Breaking destructive behaviors with no information

Breaking destructive behaviors requires patience. But if you use such tools with your staff the hybrid schedules will begin to work well for you. Don’t make the mistake of just replacing workers who want to try a hybrid schedule.

Conclusion

You’ll have the temptation to resume office meetings if you partly enable staff to work from home. It’s crucial to include everyone, including those who still work remotely.

But seriously — squelch your fist-in-hand tendencies to keep control of everything in your company and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more productivity you see — along with heightened well-being in your team.

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thanks!

How to Schedule Remote and Office Work was originally published on Calendar by .

5 Ways to Prepare This Summer for Employees Going Back to School

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back to school

It’s normal for business to shift as the school year approaches, and this transition can affect employee availability and general operations. The academic calendar and breaks from school affect your business and your employees’ lives. So, how do you make their lives easier and maintain your daily operations?

Summer is an important time to prepare your business for the coming changes as some employees take classes in the fall. Don’t wait to plan your accommodations. Here are a few tips for managing back-to-school preparations during the summer:

1. Schedule Around School Hours

It’s a good idea to schedule your business with school hours in mind. As classes are in session, depending on your business, you may have more clients or less. If college students are a large portion of your customer base and they leave town for summer break, you might choose to be open less hours during that time. Then, the opposite is true for the fall when they come back.

It’s important to monitor these trends and adapt your operations. Ensuring business hours meet demand means that you’ll be able to schedule the appropriate number of employees and plan more strategically, even if your employees are in school themselves. You can also make sure these hours work for clients by asking them on social media, which improves brand engagement. Do your best to accommodate everyone’s schedules, and you can make up potential income dips elsewhere.

2. Consider Additional Hires or Shifts

It could be worth hiring additional employees to fill gaps as the availability of summer employees may shift as classes begin. Say that one employee will soon need a certain time frame free from work due to upcoming classes. You could hire a part-time employee to ensure their role is still fulfilled.

In addition to this change, you could also adjust your shift system to offer even more flexibility. Many businesses have a four shift system, with individuals working morning shift, mid-shift, evening, and overnight. To accommodate more workers’ schedules, you could offer additional hours. Maybe it’ll be easier for your new employees to come in with shorter shifts or different start and end times.

3. Stay Up to Date With Your Employees’ Schedules

Your business may be a seasonal one or have different workers during different shifts. In any case, you want to make the transition for incoming employees as smooth as possible. Check in with them as summer progresses, so they can update you with new needs and schedule changes. This also gives you the benefit of alerting customers should business hours need to change as a result.

If you have set up a shared employee shift calendar already, this is the perfect reason to use it. While you have all of the shifts organized on it, your employees can include their timelines right in the application. There won’t need to be any delay in finalizing shifts and operating hours for all to see online.

4. Permit Remote Work, If Possible

For a not-necessarily-in-person business, the remote option can make it much easier for employees to be available, faster. Being a student requires a lot of time dedicated to studying, and it’s typically easiest to do so at home. The less time they need to spend commuting, for instance, the longer they can focus on work before switching gears. They can even use the same devices to switch between these responsibilities, increasing efficiency on both sides.

Allowing remote work can also show your employees and clients how much you care about your personnel. In such cases, the former will feel a lot safer coming to you and therefore have higher morale and bandwidth. And the better the work your employees do, the more satisfied your clients will be.

5. Help Streamline Your Employees’ Workflows

Alongside scheduling around school hours, it can make the work feel more fulfilling if you streamline things for everyone. One way to do this is by planning difficult or high-effort tasks to be done earlier in the shift. When an employee needs to leave, they won’t feel guilty or anxious that important things are being momentarily put aside. Also, if you set up programs to automate little tasks, it can free up time for the important ones.

Instituting a new management system to keep projects on the public radar and up-to-date for those involved also improves workflow. This can eliminate the need for someone to sit down and plan something when they may not have the time. It can also keep everything and everyone organized without much human effort.

The end of summer doesn’t have to be a bad omen for business, if you prepare accordingly. The most important takeaway is to make sure that you’ll have the hands you need when you need them. Take your time and consider your employees’ needs, and you can help make them happen. When the fall comes around, you’ll be ready for anything.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Make Company Flex Schedules Work for Everyone

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Flex Work

The demand for flex schedules at work is on the rise. ‌ ‌Almost ‌80%‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌workers in the U.S. would prefer a job offering a flexible work schedule over one without. As a consequence, this results in employers starting to accommodate this request. ‌

So, why are so many people ‌‌‌expecting flex schedules? ‌Well,‌ ‌flexible‌ ‌work‌ ‌schedules‌ ‌are good for employees, because they can organize their lives around their jobs — not‌ ‌the‌ ‌other‌ ‌way‌ ‌around.

However, it has plenty of benefits for employers too. ‌For example, employee retention, productivity, diversity, and engagement may all be boosted by flexible scheduling. ‌As‌ ‌such,‌ ‌it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular employee benefits.

What are the best ways to set up flex work hours‌ ‌that‌ ‌work‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌business‌ ‌and‌ ‌your employees? ‌Here’s what you need to know.

What is a Flexible Work Schedule Policy?

Before going further, let’s quickly explain a flexible work schedule policy.

Employees can modify arrival and departure times when employers offer flexible work schedules. Employees can also decide how long and where they work. ‌It’s an alternative way to work instead of the antiquated 9 to 5, 40-hour workweeks.

You should know that the Fair Labor Standards Act in the U.S. doesn’t ‌address flexible work hours. ‌Instead, it’s something‌ ‌between‌ ‌employer‌ ‌and‌ ‌employee.

With that in mind, employees should be clearly informed who is covered by the policy and when a flexible schedule is available. ‌In addition, you should consider a variety of flexible schedules to meet the needs of all your ‌employees.

  • Flextime work schedule. With Flextime, workers can choose their working hours. ‌It‌ ‌also allows employees to adjust their operating hours from week to week, depending on the needs of the business.
  • Remote working schedule. An employee who doesn’t come into the office regularly works remotely. ‌For example, working from home could be an arrangement in which the employee works exclusively 2-4 days per week from home or from home.
  • Compressed workweek schedule. This allows employees to work their 40 standard weekly hours. But, over a shorter period than five days or ten days during the usual week. ‌An example would be to work an extra hour Monday-Thursday and to take a half-day off on‌ ‌Friday.
  • Part-time work schedule. This is a conventional type of flexible schedule. ‌For example, when an employer does not wish to lose a skilled employee, they may agree to let that person work part-time. ‌However, the employee cannot dedicate their time to full-time work.

How to Make Company Flex Schedules Work for Everyone

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a flex schedule is, as well as its variations. Now you can focus on making a company flex schedule that works for everyone.

1. ‌Involve employees in planning.

When establishing flex plans, companies often make the mistake of not communicating well‌ ‌with‌ ‌workers. So, the easiest solution? ‌Develop a flexible work program based on the interests and needs of your employees.

Determine whether the new work arrangement is right for them. ‌For example, will ‌employees remain productive under the new arrangement? ‌An ideal agreement would satisfy the employees’ personal needs while addressing the company’s need to provide high-quality‌ ‌products‌ ‌and‌ ‌services.

How can you get your team involved? You could collect feedback through surveys, one-on-ones, or town halls.

You can ask your team for feedback in many ways, but know what works best‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌people. For example, in team meetings, some employees might feel more comfortable offering candid feedback. Others might prefer a confidential, anonymous‌ ‌survey.

2. Know your team.

“As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to know the people on your team,” writes Howie Jones in a previous Calendar article. “Knowing who you work with allows you to be mindful of their tendencies and build more than just trust.”

It is also easier to delegate tasks to your workers if you know them well. ‌As a result, you’ll have more insight into the team, which will help when selecting a combination of personalities for a specific‌ ‌project‌ ‌or‌ ‌team. ‌Knowing you’ve already done the hard work, you can resist the urge to micromanage them.

Remote workers can be more challenging to get to know than their in-person counterparts. ‌Follow these steps to get to know them:

  • Prioritize facetime. “You might not be able to be physically together, but technology can be a bridge,” says Howie. “Eat lunch together once a week via videoconference.” ‌Plan to fly them in at least once a quarter for meetings.
  • Be generous. ‌To build trust, you need to take risks. ‌And — you should give people a chance. For example, “If they want noise-canceling headphones, could you surprise them with a pair?”
  • Ask questions. ‌Around 60-80% of our conversations revolve around ourselves. ‌Encouragement not only enables you to understand who they truly are. But it also strengthens your relationship with them.

Respected leaders motivate their workers to keep working through tough times. ‌If more needs to be done, they will speak up for it. ‌In short, make an effort to get to know them.

3. Instill a sense of purpose.

“It is time for a flexible work paradigm shift, with less focus on where or when we work, but rather on how value is generated,” Jason Grover, HR Vice President Polaris Industries Inc., told Forbes. “COVID has taught us that our productivity is contingent less on location, more on leadership instilling a sense of purpose.”

When we align employees with salient priorities and foster an environment where they can give their best effort, he says people are more likely to choose‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌productive‌ ‌path.

4‌. ‌Conduct‌ ‌a‌ ‌trial‌ ‌run.

If‌ ‌you’re apprehensive about starting a flex work plan or getting a lot of resistance, a trial run might help. ‌

Create a trial, flexible work program before launching a full-scale program. ‌The process can be carried out by a single department or a small group of employees from various departments. ‌Run the trial for at least a month to work out the kinks and collect‌ ‌data.

You may notice that not everyone is cut out for remote work. While others, however, thrive in a WFH environment.

5. Flexibility is all about being flexible.

How does a company like Vistaprint make flex schedules work?

“Some of us work best from our bedrooms,” the company states. “Some of us prefer an office environment.”

The company’s goal is to provide its team members the flexibility to choose the work environment that best suits them.

“Our offices have become collaboration centers with bookable hotdesks and a mix of spaces where team members can meet in person to work and socialize whenever needed,” they continue. “Any team members who choose to leverage these collaboration centers can do so as frequently or infrequently as they like, and they will continue to have the autonomy to create their own schedules.”

6. Establish a standard work window.

It can be challenging to bring people together if they have different schedules at work. ‌Thus, a typical window schedule helps manage flexible scheduling most effectively.

Regardless‌ ‌of‌ ‌the time of day your employees work, set core hours, for example, ‌between‌ ‌10‌ ‌a.m. and 3 p.m. That means everyone is expected to be available at those hours throughout the week. ‌You can use this time to delegate tasks, hold meetings, ‌or‌ ‌bond‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌team.

Employers have a “schedule center” if a typical work window is implemented, which they can use to plan their schedules. ‌However, it is the workers’ responsibility to manage their schedules efficiently.

7. Be consistent.

When informal policies aren’t applied consistently, it causes resentment, bad morale, employee loss, and even legal trouble. To prevent this, develop a detailed, clearly-stated, and non-discriminatory policy on the company’s flex work arrangements.

8. Redefine productivity.

“Flexible work demands a shift away from seeing productivity in terms of being present for fixed working hours,” says Jane Parry. “Indeed, the problem of presenteeism — where people feel compelled to show their face at work even if they are ill—only feeds into the productivity puzzle.”

Companies (and managers) need to establish better performance metrics. How? By asking questions like:

  • Was a project completed on time?
  • How well did the team work ‌together?
  • Was high-quality work delivered?

“These are much more effective yardsticks of success than whether staff clock in at 9 a.m. each morning,” adds Parry.

9. Don’t have a communication breakdown.

A flex work schedule may leave co-workers and supervisors without business and social contacts. However, including flex staff in staff meetings will prevent them from feeling overlooked or alienated from co-workers‌ ‌and‌ ‌managers.

You could also set dedicated Slack channels so everyone can communicate and collaborate. Or schedule regular Zoom check-ins.

Furthermore, contact with other employees shouldn’t be limited to e-mail. Make it a point to have additional contact points, such as phone numbers. At the same time, know when it’s appropriate to text or call your team members. For example, contacting them Friday evening should be avoided unless it’s an absolute emergency. Preferably, you should reach out during the agreed-upon core hours.

10. Monitor, assess, and update.

An evolving process of improvements or developments may be required as a condition of flexible work arrangements. Therefore, take the time to review whether or not flex programs are meeting goals. If not, then adjust them as necessary.

Again, encourage employees to give feedback and keep the lines of communication open. ‌And as mentioned above, you can use a limited-time pilot program when launching a new plan. ‌If the plan is unsuccessful, you might have to return to the company’s prior traditional work arrangements.

One more thing. Stay abreast of any potential legal issues. ‌Employees must be carefully classified as exempt or non-exempt by their employers. For example, for hours worked beyond 40 hours in a given work week — non-exempt employees get overtime. ‌Therefore, those employees will have to document their work hours.

Image Credit: Fauxels; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Make Company Flex Schedules Work for Everyone was originally published on Calendar by .

How to Increase Your Appointment Bookings During the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

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Appointment Bookings

Are you a small business owner, an accountant, or a doctor? Regardless of what you do, your business probably relies on clients. Meaning, that for your company to thrive you need to continuously book appointments. Easier said than done, right?

Increasing your appointment bookings isn’t easy, especially in the summer when business typically slows down. But don’t worry. There are ways you can keep attracting customers. This article includes a few tips to help you increase your appointment bookings. From integrating appointment software to offering discounts, here’s everything you need to know:

1. Add Personal Touches

Whether you’re sending emails or using your website to target consumers, consider adding some personal touches. Sure, you don’t know everything about your prospective client, but you know enough to make a connection.

For example, let’s say you own a medical spa. Summer is around the corner, which as you know, is a popular time for people to vacation. With this information, you might want to consider integrating something about “looking your best this summer” into your email.

Finding small ways to connect with your audience and make your product relevant helps you stand out, and can increase your appointment bookings.

2. Improve Online Visibility

Sure, you have a website. That doesn’t mean Google is displaying your website. To help prospective clients find you, it’s important your site is considering search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. To do this, consider consulting with an SEO specialist. There are also small steps you can take yourself to help with SEO.

For instance, having a mobile-friendly website is important for SEO. So, consider re-working your website to ensure it’s easy to navigate on any device. Publishing blog posts and using images can also boost your SEO.

The higher you rank on SEO, the higher Google will rank you. And in turn, the more likely a customer will be directed to your website than your competitors.

3. Use Appointment Software

In today’s modern world, consumers want everything to be fast — even scheduling appointments. The traditional method of having a prospective client call or even email to schedule an appointment won’t cut it anymore. Because of this, you should consider integrating appointment scheduling software.

With this technology, clients can book an appointment from their phone with only a few clicks. They don’t have to spend time talking on the phone or going back and forth with someone at the company. All they have to do is find a time that works for them, based on your availability, and click. Not only does this create a better consumer experience, but it can also help your business stay organized.

4. Send Follow-Up Messages

According to research, missed appointments in the healthcare industry range from 10 to 50%. Even if you’re not in healthcare, missed appointments can be problematic. It can cause you to lose time and money. Instead of blocking off that time for someone who didn’t show up, you could’ve made money by working with a paying client.

To prevent no-shows, consider sending clients an automatic reminder after they’ve scheduled an appointment. Using appointment software can help with this and also let you pick and choose how to send the reminders. For instance, you might opt to send appointment reminders via text, email, or automatic phone call. You can even include an option where the client can cancel, giving you the opportunity to book with someone else.

5. Use Customer Referrals 

Word of mouth customer referrals is an easy and inexpensive way to increase appointment bookings. You simply ask your current customers to refer their friends or anyone they may know.

Keep in mind that you want to make sure your current customers are happy with your service before asking them to refer you. It’s also a good idea to ask for referrals immediately after interacting with your customer. Doing this, as opposed to waiting weeks, increases the likelihood the customer will actually tell their friends and family.

Some companies offer a referral discount. Meaning, that every time an existing customer refers someone and that person comes in for an appointment, the existing customer earns a discount. This is a great way to motivate existing customers and build loyalty.

6. Send a Post-Appointment Survey

Feedback is important for any business. Think about it. You can’t grow if you don’t know what you’re doing right and ways to improve. To keep this from happening, consider sending customers a post-appointment survey. You might be thinking, “No one will fit it out.” Turns out, that’s not true.

According to Survey Monkey, 85% of customers say they will give their feedback when the experience is good. Another 81% will give feedback when the experience is bad. Based on this information, there’s a good chance you’ll receive feedback regardless.

When it comes to a post-appointment survey, you should also make sure these post-appointment surveys are mobile-friendly and concise. While you might want a lot of feedback, it’s doubtful a customer will take hours filling out a survey. So, do your best to create pointed questions that will provide you with the best information.

Increasing your appointment bookings doesn’t have to be complicated. By making small changes, based on the tips above, you can help your business thrive this summer.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Politely Share Your Scheduling Link on Calendar

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scheduling link

Meetings that are unproductive and poorly managed claim endless hours of our time. ‌What I believe is even worse is the valuable time wasted using emails, texting — and worse calling, going back and forth. ‌After‌ ‌all,‌ ‌on average, a meeting is scheduled after eight emails, according to studies. But there are ways to politely share your scheduling link on Calendar.

Share Your Scheduling Link on Calendar

Thankfully, a scheduling link can solve this problem. ‌If you’re not familiar, this is an instant communication method that establishes real-time connections between people or a URL. ‌As a result, you will stop email ping pong, avoid scheduling conflicts, eliminate arduous work, and simplify‌ ‌your‌ ‌meeting‌ ‌workflow.

However, if you want to effectively share your scheduling link on Calendar, you need to do so politely. And here’s how you can accomplish just that.

Share when it is appropriate.

Let’s say you’re at your favorite coffee shop catching up on some work. Eventually, you strike up a conversation with a fellow patron. And, since you’ve hit it off, you decide to keep the conversation going by exchanging contact information.

It doesn’t matter if this is a potential romantic relationship or a new business ‌connection. It would undoubtedly be pretentious if your first message included your calendar link. However, it is a relatively clear indication that you are a significant person.

Instead, just get their contact information and nurture the relationship organically. Then, in the following correspondence, ask them if they have a calendar link they would like to share. If not, then suggest sharing your calendar link with them. If that doesn’t fly, ask them when they’re available.

Additionally, ‌disclosing “your schedule and routine to a stranger gives them information about your life that they could use against you,” says Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “Keep your sensitive calendar information to yourself.”

But, this isn’t the only time that it’s inappropriate to share a calendar link. For example, planning a surprise party or a brief 10-minute call probably doesn’t require scheduling links.

Open the door for them.

Traditionally, we were taught to open the door for others before ourselves. And we can definitely apply that to our Calendar availability as well.

Rather than just sending over your Calendar link and saying, “Here’s my calendar link,” you can “open the door” for someone else first. How? By asking for their availability.

You can then offer them your Calendar link after they have walked through the door. If you need a script to follow, try something like, “I would appreciate it if you could let me know when you’re available. Or, if it’s more convenient, you can ‌choose a time off my Calendar.”

It may not seem like much. ‌However, we observe a variety of seemingly little gestures, such as silencing your phone in a‌ ‌movie‌ ‌theater. Julianna Margulies perfectly put it, “Small gestures can have a big impact.”

Create priorities.

Kelly‌ ‌Nolan,‌ ‌a‌ ‌time-management‌ ‌strategist,‌ ‌uses three different links in her Calendar for various purposes: client meetings, casual coffee dates or networking events, and ‌team‌ ‌meetings. ‌In addition, she gives enthusiastic support to auto-scheduling for unexpected‌ ‌reasons.

“You set end times,” Nolan told Bloomberg. ‌For example, schedulers can set up time slots of up to 30 minutes, preventing attendees from ignoring the out-of-time cues when a meeting is over. ‌Additionally, most programs she uses to protect her clients’ time are better than what they can manage independently.

“Many of us have that people-pleaser tendency to say ‘Well, okay, I’ll just make that inconvenient time work,’ which removes that propensity,” she said.

To avoid negative messaging, Nolan shares her calendar link and a note that says: ‌If any‌ ‌of‌ ‌my‌ ‌upcoming‌ ‌appointments‌ ‌aren’t convenient for you, please ‌‌let‌‌ ‌‌me‌‌ ‌‌know.

“It’s a signal that I’m willing to work with certain people beyond my calendar tool,” Kelly said.

Establish a friendly‌ ‌tone.

When inviting people to use your Calendar, pay attention to your wording. ‌While you want to be direct, you don’t want to be too brash or disrespectful of their time. Instead, ‌emphasize the convenience of using a calendar link, like no longer playing the back-and-forth game.

For example, you could say, “Whenever you’re ready, here’s my scheduling link on Calendar, so you can select a time that works best for you. I look‌ ‌forward‌ ‌to speaking‌ ‌with‌ ‌you soon.”

Timing is everything.

Timing is everything when sharing‌ ‌your‌ ‌Calendar. ‌It’s best not to share your calendar link until it’s too late. At the same time, you don’t want to share it until the very ‌last‌ ‌minute. ‌It is essential to strike‌ ‌a‌ ‌balance.

You should share your Calendar 24-48 hours before you depart with your family and assistant, for example, if you plan a trip. For example, if you need a team meeting on Thursday, sending a scheduling link on Tuesday is cutting it way too close.

In short, you should factor in urgency and deadlines before sharing your Calendar so that it is shared at the appropriate‌ ‌time.

Moreover, be mindful of business hours, time zones, and holidays. For example, if you’re on the east coast and want to have a virtual meeting with a colleague who lives on the west coast, don’t suggest a 9 am EST meeting time. Instead, you’re asking them to jump on this video call at 6 am.

Be flexible.

Even if the other person’s schedule does not align with what you have available on your Calendar, be open to accommodating their needs. For instance, “Could you share a convenient time for a meeting, or could you choose from my calendar if you prefer?”

Note that you don’t say that blocking out your time is only possible by using your calendar link. I often use this as a starting point, however.

Choose a compatible calendar.

Tech can be a little thorny sometimes. ‌For example, even though it’s possible to switch between Apple, Google, or Microsoft, that can be confusing. What’s more, it’s not always convenient if you’re sharing a Google Calendar link with a group that primarily uses Apple Calendar.

Generally, you should ensure that your Calendar can be accessed from‌ ‌multiple‌ ‌platforms. ‌This way, there is no syncing or sharing process to worry about. And, it’s convenient and doesn’t require the other invitees to install a new app or learn how it functions.

Follow the Goldilocks Rule.

“Certainly, privacy could be an issue for successful calendar sharing,” writes Kayla Sloan in an article for Calendar. “But many people merge work and personal calendars without issue.”

Most online calendars and apps “have settings that let you make some entries private and others shared.” ‌Unfortunately,‌ ‌those settings prevent others from being able to see sensitive information.

“However, not all calendars have the same capabilities,” adds Sloan. “Therefore, you can permit everyone to see personal appointments, make entries vague, or not put them on work calendars.”

When adding event details to a shared calendar, strike a balance. ‌Date, time, and location should be listed at the very least. It’s also a brilliant idea to include who will attend.

With attachments containing agendas and locations, they can obtain directions on their phones without giving too much information.

Also, avoid being ‌vague. ‌Do‌ ‌not‌ ‌just schedule the afternoon for “meetings.” Make sure everyone has the information they need in advance.

Don’t ghost anyone.

In other words, if you receive a calendar link, don’t leave the sender high and dry.

I’ve sent calendar invitations to someone who never replied in the past. Maybe because they knew about the invite and assumed that I anticipated their attendance. But, it’s still a pet peeve of mine.

You only have to click a button to confirm. Also, it’s nice to let others know you’re coming. ‌Additionally, you will receive updates, such as cancellations. ‌One invitation allows for more efficiency than multiple invitations.

And hopefully, because you responded, others will reciprocate when you share your scheduling link in the future.

Email embedding.

You might consider embedding your calendar link in your email body. ‌Why? There are fewer clicks involved than on your website. In turn, it’s more courteous since saving other time when scheduling.

Image Credit: Cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Politely Share Your Scheduling Link on Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

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