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New Feature Release – Reverse Calendar Sync

Amie Laura Parnaby
November 8, 2022
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Reverse Calendar Sync

Another new feature is out for SimplyMeet.me, and we know some of you will love it, and others will wonder, “why?”. The Reverse Calendar Sync feature is actually a different way of managing highly variable schedules that is easier than creating additional availability for every day within the SimplyMeet.me system.

Synchronizing Calendar Availability

Businesses, teams and individuals with regular schedules or even schedule cycles would probably find it much easier to set their meeting availability via the meeting type availability tab and their synced external calendars – where free time is available for meetings and booked out time is unavailable. Even with slightly flexible routines, creating a “special day” or a particular date range when something specific is happening is simple enough.

However, some people have highly variable calendars that vary daily. In this case, it can be complicated to create individual special days for every day. That doesn’t make your schedule easier to manage. It just adds more work to your days when you have to create a particular availability timetable for your changing and variable schedule.

Reversing the Synchronisation for Easy Control

When you reverse the synchronisation to enable booking only within the space you have booked out of your calendar; you only need to block out a specific time on a single day rather than ensuring the rest of the time is filled to ensure no one can book that space.

For example, you have a series of different interviews to do because you’re for a new contract. You need a lot of new starters, and you need to allocate interview time along with all of your other meetings.

So instead of setting individual schedules for different interviews and when you are available on specific days, you can block out periods of time on your reverse sync calendar. So, “this period is available for interviews”, not at any other time that day. You can even set the specific days easily by blocking those periods all in one go.

Making a Calendar for Reverse Calendar Sync

I use Google for work and home, so I created a new calendar within my G-suite just for reverse calendar synchronisation. It’s simple enough in Google. You click the plus next to “Other Calendars” and add another calendar. You can name whatever you like and set it up how you want it. As you want this calendar for your reverse synchronisation, you don’t want to let any other calendars sync with it.

Creating a new calendar in Google

So, this week I have determined that to get as many interviews as possible, I will allocate large blocks of time in my calendar to get those interviews done. However, I still have to leave some time free to allow for meetings that will enable me to do my job (whatever it is). These are the blocks of time I have allocated to get all of my candidates through a 30-minute interview.

Interview time blocks – different availability every day

This is a calendar I created in Google specifically for the Reverse Calendar Sync feature, and you will do the same. It was straightforward to highlight the blocks and call the event “interviews”. As you see, no two days are the same. I had blocked out openings in my calendar when I had no other meetings and times when I didn’t want any other meetings encroaching on my interview time.

Doing this kind of setup in SimplyMeet me is not as simple because creating specialised schedules for each day and each meeting type is time-consuming. This took me 4 minutes, and I was flicking between individual day-view screens. Conversely, when I set up the same times within SimplyMeet.me for each specific date, it took me ten minutes. This is because to have to add each day and each time block individually. This was just four days; if you have a lot more, it can become tedious.

NB This is also good for those who have very short-notice calendars and don’t know what their schedule will be a long time in advance. As long as you don’t allow booking a meeting too far in advance, you can still use reverse calendar sync to stay on top of your variable schedule.

Creating a “Reverse Sync” meeting type

So I have set the time in my “Reverse Sync” calendar when I can accept interview bookings. Now, I must ensure that time translates to my meeting booking pages.

In your meeting types, you can either create a new meeting for your “interviews” or whatever other meetings might be completely random – I’ll get to different use cases later.

This is how any other meeting type looks. However, you will need to change the calendar to which this meeting will sync the booked appointments. Make sure you set it to your dedicated reverse calendar.

Change from your default calendar to your reverse sync calendar

Now you want to allocate availability.

All you have to do is toggle the “Reverse Calendar” switch, which will allocate your blocked-out times as available for interviews, irrespective of your regular working hours.

This is what your interviewees will see:

Booking page for interviewees

You would get the same result as setting up each day individually, but it takes less than half the time to set up.

Why would you need so much variability?

That is a good question. The only people who know whether they need this feature are those who already know why.

I already used the example of a high volume of interviews, but there are many more. I’ll list the possible reasons for a highly variable schedule and why it might be necessary to reverse sync calendars instead of creating separate specific dates.

  • On-call and short-term availability. – Social workers, family law solicitors, Nurses, carers
  • Internal interviews and reviews while also working around other obligations.
  • Sales teams
    • Allocating incoming/outgoing sales meetings and calls.
  • Education and teaching
    • Immediate problems
    • Office hours
    • Additional lesson support

These are just some examples of why you might need the super flexibility of sliding a book of time into your schedule. Very few of us know the plans for our entire day, and even fewer will get through their day without something changing. However, some people’s schedules change either by their own whims or the needs of their clients.

If this sounds like your daily existence, you might just have found the trick to creating an online meeting scheduler without having a regular schedule.

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