Help me Google Calendar nicely with others
March 13, 2018 10:09 AM   Subscribe

I have four Google Calendars and want staff from one domain to see all of my "busy" times associated with the other three. How do I accomplish this without requiring others to add my multiple other calendars to their "Other Calendars" list? Is there a way to sort of "flatten" all of my calendars onto one visible toggle-able calendar for others, and without details? Attempt at clear explanation inside.

I know the basics, how to share a calendar, how to add someone else's, how to toggle calendars off and on, and where to find the "show as busy" setting. But there's so much more and it really seems like there must be a way to accomplish my goal.

Associated with XYZ calendar, I'm part of a remote team that frequently needs to schedule meetings, and so my calendar needs to accurately show the gaps in my day. I work two half-time jobs, I also do consulting and I have my personal and household calendars. I shared my calendars with XYZ account, and then set for each of them Settings>Access permissions>Make available for XYZ domain>See only free/busy (hide details). I asked a coworker what I was doing at noon, and she could see nothing--I assume this is because, even though I shared the calendar with XYZ account, she hadn't added my calendar to her list.

And this is what prompted my post. It can't be that I have to ask her and everyone else to add all of my other calendars. If this was true, and we all wanted to use this functionality for scheduling, we'd all have to add dozens of calendars and toggle them all on when we wanted to see gaps. How do I get others to see my details for XYZ's calendar and "busy" for all the others while viewing a single calendar on their end?
posted by AnOrigamiLife to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
One workaround is for any event you want to show on your calendar as part of the remote team's organization, invite yourself (i.e., your remote team organization account) to the event, and make sure the original event's visibility is set to private. That should make it so it appears on your remote team calendar, but it only shows as "Busy." Of course, this could be an issue if you don't want everyone who can see the personal, household, consulting, etc. calendars to be able to see your remote team email address invited to those events for any reason. And it's a little more work when you're creating each event. But it's not a ton more work.
posted by limeonaire at 10:25 AM on March 13, 2018

One way to do this: once you create an event, go to the button on the right marked "More Actions" and copy it to another *new* calendar that is set to only show Free/Busy that you then add everyone to as admins so everyone can post their availability. Kind of a pain, and you'll still have to have everyone join the new calendar you create, but then you can all quickly see when everyone is available for meetings.

Another option is to use a separate scheduling app (linked one there are lots) that syncs to a new, private calendar that all your events are copied to. You'll have to get your remote team on board, but it may also streamline clients booking consulting time. That way, when you need to schedule meetings, the only time that people will be able to 'book' with you are times that are not filled by other tasks.
posted by ananci at 10:41 AM on March 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Looks like I’m out of luck unless a latecomer joins the convo with an answer that isn’t a workaround. Google Calendars must offer the exact functionality I need, because it’s not an uncommon need. I just cannot figure it out. I appreciate the thoughts thus far, but I need a clean solution that doesn’t depend on me to remember an extra step or two *every*single*time* I add something new to my calendar. The solution also can’t require me to train other people to use my system.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 3:07 AM on March 14, 2018

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