Best Practices for Office 365 Calendaring
University IT offers the following recommendations to keep calendar usage consistent, courteous, and professional. Some departments may want to incorporate a subset of these practices in a policy they establish for how their employees should use the Office 365 Calendar.
Use Preferred Clients
- OWA (Outlook Web App), Microsoft Outlook, and the Outlook mobile app are the recommended clients. Keep current with Microsoft Office Updates - There are known issues that are fixed with each service pack or update. Make sure your mobile device has the latest OS/iOS version.
- If you must use a mobile device to manage your calendar, use the Outlook app to accept/decline meeting requests. It is recommended that mobile devices only be used for viewing your calendar. Mobile devices tend to cause the most issues with appointments becoming corrupt, missing, or out of sync. Scheduling an appointment just for yourself on your mobile device is ok.
- Only ONE person should process meeting invites - Make sure that only one user for each mailbox receives and processes meeting requests. If you have more than one delegate, having only one receive the meeting requests is preferred. If more than one receives the requests, the delegates and owner must decide who will be processing all the meeting requests. All other computers/devices and people should ignore (i.e. do not process, do not delete) meeting requests for the mailbox if they receive them.
Creating and Editing Meetings
- It is recommended that meeting creation and edits are done on OWA (Outlook Web App).
- Microsoft Outlook can be used for your own calendar use but for any calendar delegation it is recommended to use OWA (Outlook Web App)
- If you must cancel or reschedule a meeting, please try to notify attendees at least 24 hours before the scheduled start time. Many staff check their calendars only at the beginning of their day. Last-minute changes or cancellations can go unnoticed.
- If you want to invite people to a meeting without letting them know who else is invited, please send an email rather than an appointment. All meeting attendees can see who else is invited, but cannot see their attendance status. Only the organizer of the meeting can see attendee status.
- When inviting a group to a meeting, invite using individual email addresses (or a Contact Group). Do not invite Mailman mailing lists to a meeting. While the list may have a free schedule, the members of the list may be busy. When a member responds, that person’s email address will be added to the invitation, and the member will receive two copies of all further messages about that meeting.
Handling Meeting Requests
Respond to meeting invitations promptly with an Accept, Decline, or Tentative. By making a choice, you keep the meeting organizer informed so that they can better decide if they need to reschedule an appointment, plan for refreshments, or work with you outside of the scheduled meeting time.
Always Respond to Meeting Requests in the Inbox - We recommend that you always accept or decline a meeting request from the Inbox. If you accept or decline a meeting by using the meeting item in the Calendar in Outlook, the meeting request remains in the Inbox. It is important that you do not delete a meeting request from the Inbox until you are sure that the meeting has been processed. The following text appears in the InfoBar of the meeting request when the meeting request has been processed: Accepted by username on date, time.
Don’t copy/paste meeting events. These are especially susceptible to corruption and causing problems.
Don't move meeting requests - Don't move a meeting request from your Inbox to a different folder before you accept or decline the request or before the meeting appears in your calendar. Soon after a meeting request arrives in your Inbox, a piece of Outlook code — nicknamed the "sniffer" — automatically adds the meeting to your calendar and marks it as tentative. This is a fail-safe to keep you from missing the meeting in case you don't see the request in your Inbox. However, the sniffer doesn't reply to the meeting organizer. You still need to do that by accepting, accepting as tentative, or declining the request. If you or a rule that you create moves an incoming meeting request from your Inbox before the sniffer can process the request, the meeting never appears in your calendar, and you might miss the meeting.
Don't delete a meeting request on one computer after you accept the same meeting request on another computer - If you are using two computers that connect to the same mailbox (e.g., a desktop computer that is using Online mode and a laptop computer that is using Cached Exchange Mode). The meeting request that you accepted on the Desktop computer is immediately processed. The meeting request that you deleted on the laptop computer is synchronized later. After synchronization, the meeting on the desktop computer is also deleted.
Don't auto-accept meeting requests - If you have granted one or more persons delegate access to your calendar or if you have delegate access to someone else's calendar, turn off automatic acceptance of meeting requests. By turning off automatic acceptance you avoid problems with delegate workflow by allowing you and/or your delegate the opportunity to review all meeting requests, respond appropriately, keep track of meetings and any changes, as well as minimize schedule conflicts.
If you receive a meeting cancellation, click Remove from Calendar to remove the meeting from your calendar - Deleting the cancellation from your Inbox won't remove the meeting from your calendar when using some clients.
Do not forward meeting requests - the meeting attendee list becomes out of date and tracking does not work properly for the forwarded users. Any updates to the meeting are only sent to the original attendees, not the forwarded users. If you feel a colleague should also attend, email the organizer of the meeting and ask to have that individual added. No one likes surprise guests.
Schedule end dates on recurring meetings - It is recommended that you set an end date (no more than 12 months) when you schedule a recurring meeting. When you add a definite end date, you may prevent issues that may occur if you have to update the meeting several times. If you schedule an end date on meetings, you can create a new meeting if you realize that the meeting has to be frequently modified.
If you want to discontinue a recurring meeting, open the series and add an end date. All meetings scheduled after that date will be deleted automatically from the attendees’ calendars. If you delete the series entirely, all past occurrences of the meeting are removed as well.
To change an entire series of meetings, cancel the original meeting and create a new one. To change one instance, cancel just that meeting and create a new one to replace it. Always put an end date on a recurring meeting.
A "corrupt" meeting will remain that way until you delete it. If it is a recurring appointment, delete all occurrences and reschedule it.
Avoid frequent changes - Recurring meetings can become lost or duplicated if they are modified too many times. If you have a series that requires many changes, like multiple location changes, cancel the series for everyone and create individual meetings instead or shorten the recurrence period to 3-6 months instead of 1 year or more.
- Notes included in the body of the Appointment Details are emailed to all meeting attendees. Keep private meeting notes separate.
- Block times on your calendar when you are not available. This includes vacation time as well as setting your calendar to show when you are routinely out of the office. Your closest colleagues may be aware that you work an unusual schedule, but others may not and could request a meeting with you before your train arrives in the morning or after your carpool leaves in the afternoon.
- When scheduling a vacation day on your calendar, be sure to show your time as Free if you are inviting others.