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12 Features to Effectively Use Google Calendar for Business

Google Calendar is a convenient tool for managing your appointments, meetings, and other events. Along with its handy features for personal use are those for work purposes. Not sure which Google Calendar features would work well for business? This guide includes several you may have missed.

Note: as of this writing, some features require a Google Workspace account.

1. Set Up an Appointment Schedule

Availability: all Google accounts

You don’t have to invest in expensive scheduling software to work with appointments. You can use Google Calendar’s built-in appointment schedule feature.

  1. Select a date and time on the main calendar screen, and choose “Appointment schedule.” Add a name, and click “Set up the schedule.”
  1. When the sidebar opens on the left, choose the “Appointment Duration” in the respective drop-down box, or select “Custom” to choose an unlisted duration.
Appointment Schedule Duration options
  1. Below “General Availability,” choose whether you want the schedule to repeat weekly, then add the start and end times to each day. You can also select a time zone.
Appointment Schedule Availability settings
  1. The remaining options on this first screen include Scheduling Window, Adjusted Availability, Booked Appointment Settings, Calendars Checked for Availability, and Color. Click “Next” when you finish.
Appointment Schedule options and Next button
  1. To accompany your appointment schedule, set up and customize a booking page with the following:
  • Booking page photo and name: preview your Google account name and profile photo.
  • Location and conferencing: choose where and how to meet: Google Meet, in person, phone call, or to be specified later.
  • Description: explain the service or include notes that appear both on the page and in the confirmation email.
  • Booking form: choose the fields for others to complete on the page, and optionally require an email verification.
  • Booking confirmations and reminders: in addition to creating a Google Calendar invitation, you can enable the email reminder and choose when to send it.
Appointment Schedule Booking Page settings
  1. Click “Save” to see a pop-up event for your appointment schedule. View your booking page, share your schedule or page, or see your bookings.
Appointment Schedule Done popup

When a guest wants to set up an appointment on your booking page, they choose the date and time and complete the form.

Appointment Schedule Booking Page

Tip: set up Google Spaces through Gmail to communicate, share files, and collaborate.

2. Set Your Work Hours and Location

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

With so many people either working from home or doing a hybrid office situation, you may want to let your coworkers or team know when and where you’re working on a given day. You can set your work hours and location for each day of the workweek in Google Calendar.

  1. Open the Settings Menu using the gear icon, and choose “Settings.”
Gear icon Settings in Google Calendar
  1. Expand “General” on the left, and select “Working hours & location.”
Working Hours and Location in the Google Calendar Settings
  1. On the right, check the box for “Enable working hours,” then select the days to add working hours.
Enable Working Hours and days in Google Calendar
  1. Enter the start and end times for each day. To add a second time frame for the same day, click the plus sign on the far right. Note that you can only choose one location to split hours in a single day.
Add Working Hours section
  1. Enter the location for each time frame on each workday using the drop-down on the right. If you select “Another office” or “Somewhere else,” you can enter the name of the location.
Add Working Location section

Tip: If you work the same hours at the same location each day, enter the details for the first day, then click “Copy to all” to fill them all in.

3. View Your Time Insights

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

Do you ever wonder just how much time you spend in meetings? Using Time Insights in Google Calendar, you can see where your time is spent and with whom, allowing you to make adjustments.

  1. Open the main menu using the three-line icon on the top left.
Main Menu icon in Google Calendar
  1. Below the search box, expand “Time Insights.” You’ll see a quick snapshot depending on your current calendar view. For example, if you select “Week” view on the top right, you’ll see a summary of the week you’re viewing.
Time Insights using Week View
  1. For complete details on Time Insights, click “More Insights,” which opens the sidebar on the right. The time frames you see for the below items are based on the calendar view you use. You can switch between Week, Month, and Year.
Time Insights More Insights link
  1. At the top of the sidebar, you’ll see a “Time Breakdown” with a pie chart showing your spent time. Use the tabs at the top to switch between “By type” and “By color.”
Time Insights Time Breakdown
  1. Beneath “Time Insights” is the “Time in Meetings” section, where you’ll see a daily average, which day is most spent in meetings, and recurring versus one-time meetings.
Time Insights Time in Meetings
  1. At the bottom, you’ll see “People You Meet With” to learn who you spend the most time with in meetings, the number of hours, and when you’re meeting with them next.
Time Insights People You Meet With

4. Schedule Focus Time

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

We all need that bit of time each day or week to focus on a particular task or two. By scheduling Focus Time in Google Calendar, you can solidify that time on your calendar, and let others know about it without lifting a finger.

  1. On the main calendar screen, click the date and time, and select “Focus time” in the pop-up window.
New Event for Focus Time in Google Calendar
  1. Optionally, enter a different title, then adjust the date and time or make it a recurring event.
Focus Time title and date
  1. Check the boxes to take advantage of the Focus Time features. These include muting chat notifications and automatically declining events during the time frame. You can decline only new invitations or new and existing meetings.
Focus Time Do Not Disturb and Decline boxes
  1. In the Message field, enter the response to send (or use the default) when declining the event.
Focus Time Message field
  1. Complete any remaining fields, including meeting location, description, or notification, then click “Save” to place the Focus Time event on your calendar.
Focus Time options and Save button

5. Create an Out of Office Response

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

Whether you’re taking a family vacation or need a day for personal reasons, you can set up an out-of-office response for others inviting you to meetings.

  1. On the main calendar screen, click the date and time, and select “Out of office” in the pop-up window.
New Event for Out Office in Google Calendar
  1. Optionally, enter a different event name, and adjust the date and time or make it a recurring event.
Out of Office title and date
  1. Check the box to automatically decline meetings, and choose new meetings or new and existing ones. Like the Focus Time event, you can also include a specific Message to accompany your declines.
Out of Office Decline options and Message field
  1. Select “Save.”
Out of Office Save button

6. Prepare Meeting Notes

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

Taking notes during meetings gives you and your attendees a convenient reference. You can include the date, time, attendees, action items, and notes by creating the meeting notes or a template automatically from a Google Calendar event.

Create Notes

  1. To take notes immediately, single-click to open the event pop-up box, and select “Take meeting notes.”
Take Meeting Notes option
  1. Google Docs will open in a new browser tab with the meeting notes ready.
Meeting Notes created in Google Docs
  1. Access the notes from the event pop-up in Google Calendar by selecting the icon.
Event popup with the Meeting Notes icon

Create the Notes Template

  1. To create the meeting notes template, double-click to open the event detail page, and select “Create meeting notes” in the Description area.
Event Detail page Create Meeting Notes button
  1. With the Google Docs icon in the Description, select “Save“ at the top.
Event Detail screen Meeting Notes icon
  1. Click the Google Docs notes icon in the Description to open and capture the notes using the template.
Event Detail page Meeting Notes icon

Note: you can also grab a meeting notes template for OneNote, if that’s your preferred note-taking tool.

7. Automatically Shorten Events

Availability: all Google accounts

It seems that with every meeting, there’s at least one person who arrives late because they’re running from their previous meeting. With the Speedy Meetings feature in Google Calendar, you can set meetings to automatically end early, allowing time for everyone to meet their other commitments.

  1. Open the Settings Menu using the gear icon, and choose “Settings.”
  1. Expand General on the left, and select “Event settings.” On the right, check the box for “Speedy meetings.”
Speedy Meetings checkbox in Google Calendar
  1. You’ll notice the Default Duration for your meetings adjust by five minutes for 30-minute meetings or 10 minutes for longer meetings.
Speedy Meetings Defaults before and after

All events you schedule with the Speedy Meetings feature enabled automatically adjust the time by default. If needed, you can still change it to the time of your choice.

Speedy Meetings end early event

8. Respond That You’ll Join Virtually

Availability: requires a Google Workspace plan

If you work in a hybrid environment or have times when you must join a meeting virtually rather than in person, you can ensure that the organizer knows you’re attending via digital means with a simple click.

  1. Open the event invitation by clicking it on your main calendar page. Select the “Yes” response arrow next to “Going?” at the bottom, and choose “Yes, joining virtually.”
Joining Virtually in an event popup
  1. You can also select this option on the event detail page in the “RSVP” drop-down menu.
Joining Virtually on the event detail page

When the organizer views the event in Google Calendar, they’ll see the video camera icon next to your name and can hover over the icon to see that you’ll join virtually.

Response showing Joining Virtually

Tip: did you know you could record online meetings, even if you’re not the host?

9. Embed Google Calendar on Your Site or Blog

Availability: all Google accounts

Maybe you’re in charge of a company calendar, organize charity events, coach a sports team, or something similar, where sharing your calendar on a website or blog is essential. You can embed the Google Calendar of your choice, making it available to those who need to stay on track.

  1. Open the Settings Menu using the gear icon and choose “Settings.”
  1. Select the calendar on the left, below “Settings for My Calendar,” and choose “Integrate calendar.”
Integrate Calendar in the Google Calendar settings
  1. Copy the code in the “Embed code” field on the right.
Integrate Calendar Embed Code
  1. To adjust the code first, click “Customize” below the “Embed Code” field.
Embed Code Customize button
  1. The Google Embeddable Calendar screen will open in a new tab. Use the options on the left to choose what to show or hide, adjust the width and height, select a background color and border, choose the default view and start with day, and more. You’ll see a preview of the changes to the right.
Embeddable Google Calendar page
  1. Once you have everything set the way you want it, use the “Copy” button at the top next to the “Embed code” field to place the code on your clipboard.
Embeddable page Copy button

Paste the code in your website editor, email it to your developer, save it in a note, etc.

10. Email Event Guests

Availability: all Google accounts

Whether there’s a last-minute change of plans, additional notes for a meeting, or an item you need before you meet with your team, you may want to get in touch with your attendees. Google Calendar gives you a quick and easy way to email event guests through the application.

  1. Open the event on the main calendar page, and select the “Email guests” icon to the right of the Guests section.
Email Guests button
  1. Alternatively, open the event detail page, and select the “Email guests” icon in the Guests section there.
Email Guests button the event detail page
  1. When the new message box appears, check your choice of the options at the top: send the message to only those who’ve accepted and copy yourself.
Email Guests message options
  1. Enter your message, and optionally adjust the subject line, which defaults to the event title, and press “Send.”
Email Guests message window

11. Check Calendar Conflicts

Availability: all Google accounts

Scheduling meetings and other business-related events is only as good as those who can attend. This is especially important when those attendees are essential to the meeting. To keep scheduling conflicts at bay, check the availability of your attendees before you make a plan.

Be sure that the person whose calendar you want to view is either in your organization or has shared their calendar with you. If you see an asterisk next to an invitee, that means you cannot view their availability.

There are a couple of different ways to view someone’s schedule.

Search for People

  1. In the main menu on the left, enter the person’s name in the “Search for People” box. You’ll see their events on the main calendar alongside yours.
Searched For People in Google Calendar
  1. To set up an event with them, click “Create -> Event” on the top left, and complete the event details in the pop-up window.
Event setup for searched people

Find a Time

  1. Click a date and time on your main calendar page, or open the event detail page, and select “Find a Time.”
Find a Time on the event detail page
  1. Enter the invitee’s name in the “Add guests” field to see their calendar next to yours.
Setup for event after finding a time
  1. Complete the details for the event as normal, and select “Save.”

Tip: use Google Meet’s companion mode to share your screen via a second screen while viewing participants on your primary screen.

Availability: all Google accounts

Automatically adding a link for a video conference to the Google Calendar events you create is a huge time-saver. By default, use Google Meet as your application of choice.

  1. Visit your Admin console, expand “Apps -> Google Workspace” on the left, and select “Calendar.” On the right, open the “Sharing settings.”
Share Settings on the Admin page
  1. Next to Video Conferencing, check the boxes to make Google Meet your default provider, and automatically add links to events you create. Select “Save.”
Video Conferencing settings turned On
  1. When you set up a new event, click the “Add Google Meet video conferencing” button. The link will be included in all invitations you send to your attendees.
Add Google Meet to a calendar event

Good to know: for free Workspace accounts, go to “Settings -> Event Settings,” and check the box to automatically add Google Meet links to events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I accept payments for Appointment Schedules in Google Calendar?

If you have Stripe connected to your Google Calendar, you can require payments for guests booking appointments through your booking page.

During the setup for appointment schedules above, you’ll see the option to turn on payments on the booking page. Check the box next to “Require payment when booking” and enter the amount, currency, and cancellation policy.

Can I chat with Google Calendar event guests instead of email?

When you open your Google Calendar event to select the email icon, you’ll notice an icon to the left that allows you to chat instead. Select that button, and Google Chat will open in a new tab to begin your conversation.

Note that the chat feature requires a Google Workspace account.

Can I use a different video conferencing app through Google Calendar?

Instead of Google Meet, use a video conferencing tool, such as Zoom or Cisco Webex. Use one of these services through Google Calendar by installing an add-on, then adjusting the above settings in the Admin console. Check out the Google Workspace Help page on this topic for complete details.

Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse
Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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