During this year’s Google I/O conference, the company announced some new features it’s adding to its apps, devices, and services that help users focus on their “digital wellbeing.” These settings are meant to help people manage their time better and try to ward off the addictive nature of constantly checking your phone and other digital devices. To help with this, Google has added “Out of Office” mode to Google Calendar. Just like with Microsoft Outlook, this will alert people when you’re not available to respond to requests or accept meetings. Here’s a look at how to use it.
Add “Out of Office” Google Calendar Entry
To get started, sign into your Google Calendar and click the hours or day(s) you will be away on vacation or otherwise unavailable. Then choose the “Out of Office” button and type in a decline message and hit Save and Save again to the confirmation notification. That’s all there is to it. Any meeting requests will automatically be declined during the time specified.
Google Calendar also allows you to set Working Hours which will help you protect personal time from work time. Once set up, Google Calendar will automatically decline any meeting requests that are outside of the hours you set. The person will get a notification that you’re unavailable. You can set working hours to one interval for all days, and, what’s new, is customizing hours for each day at a time. This is perfect for people who have working hours that don’t conform to the typical ‘9 to 5’ day. The calendar will also try to predict working hours based on your prior scheduling patterns — but you can manually change that.
To set your working hours, in Google Calendar go to Settings > Working Hours and there you can configure the hours when you’ll be available and can accept meetings.
It’s important to note that this feature is rolling out to G Suite users first and could see a broader consumer release in the future. Using the Out of Office mode in conjunction with customizing the Working Hours in Google Calendar should help you better manage your work and free time.