Outlook Can Schedule Meetings to End Early, But Will Users Respond?
Poor, badly-organized meetings suck the lifeblood out of an organization. You know the type I mean: attended by too many people, most of whom spend the entire meeting processing email or answering Teams conversations, no or unspecific agenda items, no drive to achieve consensus and decision, and so on. It doesn’t matter if these meetings are in-person or electronic, they’re still a horrible waste of time.
Which brings me to an option introduced in Outlook for Windows click-to-run build 1812 onward (I’m currently using build 1903 from the monthly channel (targeted) – you might have a different version). In Calendar settings, you can opt for meetings and appointments to end a few minutes earlier than the traditional 30- or 60-minute finish. The idea is that you can finish up one meeting and be in good time for your next appointment.
Office 365 for IT Pros author Brian Reid gets very excited about the feature in his blog and explains how to apply registry settings to enable the feature for everyone, or perhaps only the people you want to confuse.
You can also deploy the new calendar settings to clients via the Office administrative template files (ADMX/ADML) for Office 365 ProPlus.
Apart from saying “awesome” a lot, Office 365 for IT Pros author Ståle Hansen, is very enthusiastic about LifeHacks, which is apparently a way to use OneNote to do most wondrous things to organize your life better. Perhaps ending meetings and appointments five or ten minutes earlier qualifies as a lifehack, but I rather think not.
The sad fact is that software might schedule meetings to occur at certain times and to last a set period, but humans often ignore the best intentions expressed in a meeting notice. People turn up late, barge in without excuse, disrupt the flow of the conversation with inane or inarticulate comments, and generally conspire (inadvertently) to run bad meetings. Outlook’s new option will give you the satisfaction of organizing your calendar better, but it will do nothing to make meetings go smoother.
If you’d like to see the Northern Lights, you can meet Ståle and myself (and lots of other good speakers) at the Experts Live event in Oslo, Norway on May 29. I’m going to hear Ståle say awesome some more while he’s going to tolerate me talking about Office 365 governance. It’ll be awesome. And if you can’t make the conference, read the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook from beginning to end. It’s only 550,000 words… especially Chapter 10, which covers Office 365 clients.