Tracking team availability
July 21, 2016 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I am part of a ten-person team that is spread across several states and time zones. We are looking for a free and easy solution that will allow us to keep track of who is in or out of the office each day.

We are each based out of different institutions, keep Outlook calendars on our own servers, and have access to a SharePoint portal. I've tried to create a shared Outlook calendar, but it doesn't play well across our institutions.

Previously, everyone worked full time, so we kept a calendar on SharePoint where we manually posted days when we were out of the office and assumed everyone was in if the calendar was blank. However, several team members have now moved to part-time and have variable schedules - they have been emailing their office hours each week, which is completely unmanageable.

I don't want everyone's detailed calendars, just somewhere I can glance to see who is available at a given time. However, we do want more than busy/available - if someone is out of the office, we also want to be able to track if they are on vacation or traveling for work.

The best option I've come up with so far has been for each of us to keep an "availability" calendar in Outlook that we sync with the calendar in SharePoint. It's kind of annoying to manage multiple calendars and re-login every day, plus it's not easy to visually parse, so I wonder if there are other approaches to this that I've overlooked. We are also planning on moving to Slack soon, so options that work there would be pretty great.
posted by galvanized unicorn to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We use a calendar in my office to track when people will be in or out of the office. You get access through links, rather than user accounts, but I don't think it syncs with anything else. We did this because we had separate outlook calendars and we couldn't get them to play nicely either.

I'll be keeping an eye on the answers to see what other options there are, though!
posted by needlegrrl at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2016

I don't know if this will work for you. We use Novell messenger. Everyone sets their status for the day or updates it throughout the day . I can glance at my contact list and tell who is in, out, on vacation etc...
posted by SyraCarol at 1:27 PM on July 21, 2016

I'm confused - are you looking for a calendar solution or something that actively shows who is working and who is not? If it's a calendar, I would just make a Google calendar or a Google spreadsheet with everyone's shifts listed. That what I have done at companies where everyone is remote and has different schedules. If it's about having someone showing as "active" when they are working, I would use something like HipChat or Slack, or you could even use Microsoft Lync, which should integrate well if you're an Outlook user. In my experience though, there is always a separate calendar of people's availability that is different from the team's means of communications (whether Slack or HipChat). Unfortunately, I don't know of platform that can do everything other than Google (where you'd use Hangouts/Gmail for communication and Calendar for your calendar).
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:39 PM on July 22, 2016

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