If you’re using Google Calendar for any part of your business, you’ll want to know about some recent productivity enhancements Google has added to Google Workspace (formerly G Suite, Google’s cloud-based office suite).
Even if you don’t — maybe you’re a Microsoft 365 and Outlook Calendar kind of organization — it might be worth taking a look at the ways Google is taking leaps forward in terms of productivity. That’s especially true if you have a remote or hybrid workforce.
Let’s dive in — here’s what you need to know.
Location Sharing Got an Upgrade
Back in 2021, in response to the influx of remote workers brought on by the pandemic, Google introduced workplace location sharing in Google Calendar. It was (and still is) a handy way to let your colleagues know some context about where you’re operating. If you’re in a different time zone or working from home while tending to kids, now there’s a subtle way to inform your coworkers that you aren’t in your regular office or cubicle.
This is the feature Google has just supercharged. Now, you can create multiple locations and even schedule when your Calendar will show you at each one.
This is perfect for hybrid workers who might be in the office one day and home the next, or who might even change locations during a work day.
Why would employees want to use a feature like this? We can think of a few examples.
One is an employee who travels for sales calls. No one wants a sarcastic Slack message to pop up during a sales presentation. Now with this new feature, your sales team can notify others of exactly where they are so people can notice and not interrupt.
Another example is the hybrid worker: the question “is [name] in the office today?” has taken on new relevance, becoming a part of everyday office lingo: Sam might not be in the office, but that doesn’t mean she’s on vacation.
This feature lets our hybrid worker Sam display to teammates where she’s working. No more wondering if Sam is showing up for that in-person meeting; now it’s obvious you’ll need to set up a video option.
How to Access the Feature
Working location will be turned on by default for anyone under a corporate Google Workspace account. That includes Business Standard and Business Plus, along with a handful of other plans. If you’re just using Google Calendar on your personal Gmail, you won’t see this feature.
Of course, Google knows that not everyone wants to display their location. For some, it could even be dangerous to do so. It’s easy to turn off this setting within Google Calendars Settings panel. (And if you can’t find it there, you probably haven’t gotten the feature yet or aren’t on a plan that uses it.)
Other New Features
Google has released a couple of other new features in Google Calendar. Depending on how you work and what you do, these might be even more valuable than the working location update.
Require Payment for Booking
If your business offers paid discovery calls or meetings, this feature could be really powerful. Now when you set up a booking invitation, you have the option to require a payment if a contact wants to schedule a meeting. (This makes a ton of sense for certain creative professionals, but we don’t recommend turning this one on when scheduling a meeting with the boss!)
Offer Times in Gmail
The other new feature is within Gmail: when you compose a message, Google now gives some users the ability to schedule a meeting directly in the email, automatically offering times you’re free. Look for the calendar icon in the row of icons next to the Send button. (It might be hiding behind the three dots.)
Click on it, then choose “Set up a time to meet”, then “Offer times you’re free.” Now you can schedule meetings without ever leaving the email you’re composing!
That’s it for this week, but don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you with your IT needs.