How To Set an Out-of-office in Google Calendar

Google Calendar out-of-office notification allows you to show your availability, or unavailability as the case may be. You can conveniently let people know you are not in the office and how long you might be away. When using this feature, Google Calendar declines meetings automatically until you return.

How To Set an Out-of-office in Google Calendar

Using the Google Calendar Out-of-office Feature

When you need to head out of your office, it’s reasonable to inform those who might need to contact you. This could be clients or colleagues. Using the Google Calendar out-of-office feature allows you to do this easily.

Setting Up on Computer

Using a computer, you can set up Google Calendar out-of-office with ease. Tip: Chrome allows you to access all your Google apps on the new tab or window page.

  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Select “Create.”
  3. Select “Out-of-office.”
  4. Enter the event dates. You are free to add a specific period as well.
  5. Decline settings can be changed, and you can add a decline message.
  6. Choose “Save.”

Setting Up on Android and iOS

This Google Calendar feature can also be set up easily using Android and iOS devices. You can work on it regardless of where you are.

  1. Open Google Calendar.
  2. Tap “Create” at the bottom, shown by a plus sign.
  3. Tap “Out-of-office.”
  4. Select the dates you plan to be out-of-office. If you like, you can specify the time as well.
  5. Tap save

This feature allows you to schedule out-of-office events that repeat beyond the selected time and day. By adding out-of-office in your Google Calendar as an event, the calendar will decline any event invitations that overlap with that time. This out-of-office method lets you unplug and stop getting meeting requests.

Note: This feature is available for Google Workspace through school or work. It does not work with personal accounts.

Setting Up Google Calendar Out-of-office for Working Hours

Google Calendar allows you to customize the scheduling of your working hours. In the past, you had to set working hours for a single period and then replicate that for other days of the week. Google Calendar allows you to customize working hours for every day of the week. Calendars can be shared as well.

When you set your working hours, and someone tries to schedule a meeting outside those hours, an automatic notification will be sent out informing them of your unavailability.

Another helpful feature is Google Calendar’s ability to determine working hours automatically. This is based on your scheduling history. If the suggestions are not precise, they can be changed.

When setting up office hours, time zones don’t matter. Instead, Google automatically infers the time zones. This eliminates any possible confusion.

Setting Up Auto-reply When Out-of-office

Some people also call an out-of-office notification a vacation response and it’s prudent to add one when you are going away. Setting up your Gmail account for auto-replies is relatively easy.

Setting Up on Computer

Setting up an auto-reply on your computer involves a few steps. But doing it right gets you the desired outcome.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Select the gear icon at the top to open settings.
  3. Select “See all settings.”
  4. Scroll down to “Vacation responder.”
  5. Click “Vacation responder on.”
  6. Enter a date range, a subject line, and your message.
  7. If you want your vacation reply to be seen only by your contacts, check the box below your message.
  8. Select “Save changes.”

Setting Up a Vacation Responder on Android and iOS

Many templates on the web can be used to write a good auto-response message. It has to be professional yet friendly.

  1. Open Gmail.
    • Important note: This step doesn’t work on the preinstalled mail app on Apple devices.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu at the left.
  3. Scroll down and tap “Settings.”
  4. Select the account for which you want to set up auto-replies.
  5. Select “Vacation responder.”
  6. Toggle the switch to enable the responder.
  7. Enter a date range, subject line, and your message
  8. Tap “Done” on Android or “Save” on iOS.

Things to Note When Using Auto-response

Knowing more about this feature and how it works elevates your experience. Some of the things to remember about vacation replies on Gmail include:

  • Auto-replies are effective from midnight when you schedule an out-of-office event to 11:59 on the scheduled last day. This can be changed before this time lapses.
  • If you receive a spam message, it does not get an auto-response. This is also the case for messages received as part of mailing lists.
  • If the Google Workspace account you use is organizational, you can set things up so that only those in the organization will receive an auto-response.
  • If you are contacted by one person several times during that period, there is a likelihood that the auto-response will be sent out only after the first email. However, there are some exceptions here:
    • If the same person contacts you four days after the first email and you are still not available.
    • If you adjust the auto-response and the same person sends another email.

Best Practices Associated with Out-of-office Messages

It is important to create an out-of-office message that reads professionally. It also needs to be positive as well. A good message should include the following:

  • The dates when you plan to be away and when you intend to return. When setting up your office hours, you must be specific about the times and days you are available.
  • An estimate on how long it’ll take to give a response. Alternatively, you can make the calendar visible to all or share it so that everyone can tell when you will be or are available.
  • What the recipient should do in case of emergencies. This should include a contact number of someone they can reach instead.
  • Messages should have some personality. While you could devise a humorous, clever, and snarky message, it is wise to keep it professional and concise in many cases.
  • Remember to use other systems like Gmail to note your absence as well.

Once your vacation ends or you come back to your office, you should ease back to work by doing several things. These include:

  • Turn off all out-of-office messages. Google handles this automatically. You can counter-check, nonetheless, to be sure. In addition, you can manually turn off the messages if you return sooner than expected.
  • Look at your calendar to see appointments and tasks set for that day. This gives you a chance to get ready.
  • After checking your appointments and tasks, arrange them according to priority. Start with the important tasks first and let others follow.
  • Try to take things easy. It may take some time to catch up with everything while you were away. Working through it with a clear head and a plan allows you to catch up easier.
  • Stick to schedules: After a schedule has been set, stick to it. This gives your clients, family, and colleagues confidence they can reach you.

Embrace Automation and Take Advantage of Google Calendar Features

Google Calendar’s out-of-office feature eliminates some of the uncertainty associated with canceling appointments and engagements manually. By taking advantage of this feature, you can enjoy your time away without worrying about important messages not receiving a reply while you’re offline. The out-of-office feature lets them know when you will be away, and any invitations to meetings, etc., are declined automatically.

Have you tried the Google Calendar out-of-office feature? How well did it work? Let us know in the comments section below.

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