In today’s fast-evolving workplace, employees face the challenge of managing extensive schedules and workloads effectively and on time. This is even more challenging in hybrid teams who often work outside of the office and from remote locations.
Interactive calendars provide a flexible and powerful way for teams and managers to address these issues by streamlining scheduling and task management, enabling them to collaborate and update each other on new and ongoing work in real time.
These calendars are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. They integrate seamlessly with other work tools such as email and video conferencing, reducing the time spent creating and communicating meeting details, team appointments, task assignments, and due dates.
In this article, we’ll discuss how interactive calendars are used, reasons to incorporate them into your team workflows, and essential features to look for when choosing one. We’ll also share some of the best online interactive calendars you can find today.
What is an interactive calendar?
An interactive calendar is a digital tool for managing personal and team schedules quickly and efficiently.
Unlike a traditional paper calendar or static digital calendar, an interactive calendar provides functionalities beyond merely entering new events and ticking off dates. Online interactive calendars enable real-time synchronization, better workload visibility, and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.
They also provide added automated functionalities for sending reminder notifications, updating recurring events, and finding the earliest available slots across multiple calendars.
These advantages save valuable work time that would have been spent on repetitive tasks such as manually creating and editing meeting invites, sending reminders, and updating team members and stakeholders about project timelines.
How can an interactive calendar benefit your hybrid team?
For hybrid teams, interactive calendars are particularly useful as they enable colleagues to easily coordinate and keep track of each other’s availability, tasks, and progress, even when working outside the office.
Interactive calendars can also serve as team project calendars, allowing managers to sync projects to a shared calendar, automatically updating details across the board.
Other benefits of interactive calendars for hybrid teams include:
- Improved communication: With team members working remotely or in different locations, it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same page. An interactive calendar provides a centralized place where project managers and team members can see each other’s availability, schedule meetings, and set due dates for tasks and projects. Additionally, interactive calendars can send notifications and updates to all team members, ensuring that everyone stays informed and on track.
- Increased productivity: An interactive calendar can increase productivity by providing team members with a clear view of their schedules and deadlines. Choosing between a daily, weekly, or even monthly view, teams can drill down or zoom out to identify the most important and urgent tasks and prioritize their work better, improving productivity and overall performance.
- Enhanced collaboration: An interactive calendar improves collaboration within hybrid teams by providing an accessible space for everyone to share and receive updates about their work and projects. This allows team members to see each other’s availability and pending tasks and avoid schedule conflicts by checking each other’s calendars before sending meeting invites or assigning new tasks.
- Time zone management: Hybrid teams with members working in different time zones can find it most challenging to find the right times to schedule meetings and coordinate collaborative work. An interactive calendar helps provide a clear view of each team member’s time zone and availability. Team members can view each other’s calendars in the time zones they’re in, reducing the risk of confusion, schedule conflicts, and missed deadlines.
Essential features of interactive calendars
The features listed below are essential for interactive team calendars. Let’s take a look at each one.
Collaboration is a foundational component of interactive calendars for hybrid teams. While paper calendars can only be in one place at a time, interactive calendars are accessible by anyone with the proper access, anywhere, with an internet connection.
Interactive calendars are designed to foster easy collaboration between teams and groups. Regardless of their time zones or geographic locations, colleagues can share real-time schedules and coordinate meetings and deadlines that work for everyone involved. By providing a centralized location for scheduling and managing tasks, interactive calendars keep everyone on the same page and working towards the agreed goals.
Interactive calendars allow team members to combine multiple calendars into one view. For example, team members can view their personal, work, and team calendars in one place, making it easier to manage their schedules effectively.
Combining calendars in this way allows team members to see all of their upcoming tasks in one place and make informed decisions about what to do and how to balance work with other commitments. Beyond the team calendar, employees may also have access to a shared company calendar that helps them to align their work with the organization’s main goals and timelines.
Color-coding is another valuable feature of interactive calendars for hybrid teams. This feature allows teams to intentionally color-code their calendars according to different categories, such as meetings, tasks, deadlines, and personal events.
Color-coding makes it easier to distinguish between the different types of events that are shared in a calendar. This helps to manage schedules more efficiently as team members can instantly identify events or tasks related to specific projects or teams.
Interactive calendars are highly customizable, allowing team members to tailor their calendars to their specific needs. For example, team members can choose to view their calendars by day, week, or month and customize the layout and color scheme of their calendars. They can also select the kind of notifications they receive, ensuring they aren’t constantly interrupted or distracted while staying on top of their tasks and deadlines.
Reasons hybrid teams should use an interactive calendar
As we’ve learned from the above sections, interactive calendars create a digital workspace for hybrid teams to collaborate and keep up with each other’s tasks and deadlines. But there are even more reasons hybrid teams should use interactive calendars. Below we have compiled a list.
1. Share with clients and team members
Interactive calendars enable hybrid teams to share project schedules, estimated timelines, and ongoing progress with clients and team members, reducing the risk of conflicts and miscommunications. A shared calendar allows everyone involved to see what’s happening, eliminating the need for back-and-forth communication about the work.
2. Access from anywhere
An interactive calendar can be easily accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it easy for hybrid team members to stay connected and up to date with work at all times. Easy access to each other’s schedules, regardless of location, allows team members to plan their work more effectively, reducing the risk of missed deadlines and schedule conflicts.
3. Manage appointments
Interactive calendars provide a comprehensive platform for managing appointments and meetings. Having all events in one place allows team members to see what others have scheduled and when, reducing the risk of double-booking. Additionally, interactive calendars can send reminders for upcoming appointments and provide tools for rescheduling, canceling, or setting up new and recurring meetings.
4. Integrate with essential apps
Many interactive calendars can be integrated with other essential work apps, such as messaging, video conferencing, and project management software. This provides a comprehensive system for managing all aspects of a project, from planning projects to scheduling and assigning tasks. Integrating with other work apps allows team members to save time and streamline their workflows, reducing the risk of errors and project failure.
Examples of online interactive calendars you can use
Below is a list of three online interactive calendars you can begin using today:
Google Calendar is a free online calendar that allows users to manage their schedules and events easily. To use it, all you need is a Google account. The platform is accessible through any internet browser and has dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS devices.
One of the main benefits of Google Calendar is it allows you to create multiple color-coded calendars, which can help you organize your work and personal schedules separately or view them together. The platform lets users view their schedules by hour, day, week, or month.
Google Calendar also has a smart suggestion tool feature that can automatically fill in entries as you type an event title, location, or invitee name and provide suggestions based on past events. It is integrated with Gmail, so events and appointments can be automatically added to your calendar straight from email.
Google Calendar sends reminders via email or phone notification. Users can share their calendars with others, making it easy to plan meetings and events with colleagues, family, and friends. Its RSVP tracking helps to identify and follow up with invitees who have communicated interest in your meeting or event.
Apple Calendar is a free online scheduling calendar that comes pre-installed on Apple devices. While it is easier to use on Apple devices, the tool can be accessed on any device with an internet connection. One of the key benefits of Apple Calendar is that it is straightforward to use, even for beginners, and it offers numerous customization options.
Users can create and color-code multiple calendars, making it easier to manage work and personal schedules separately. You can add event locations, travel times, and other important details to events to help organize your schedule further. The contacts app can also be used to invite people to events easily — users can check the invitee’s availability to choose the best time for the meeting.
Apple Calendar provides several customizable views, allowing users to personalize their day, week, month, and year views depending on their preferences. Users can also set alerts and reminders for upcoming events and appointments, ensuring they don’t miss any meetings.
Apple Calendar is integrated with other Apple applications, such as Mail and Siri. This allows users to create events by dragging and dropping emails into the calendar or using Siri verbally. Furthermore, Apple Calendar can be synchronized across all your Apple devices using iCloud, ensuring your schedules and events are up to date on all devices.
Finally, Apple Calendar supports several file formats, which means users can easily import or export their calendars from other applications or share them with colleagues, friends, and family.
Microsoft Outlook Calendar
Microsoft Outlook Calendar is a scheduling calendar that comes as part of the Microsoft Office suite. Users can access Outlook Calendar with a Microsoft 365 subscription or use the free online version.
Outlook combines email and calendar services, allowing users to manage their schedules and communicate with their contacts in one place. Like other online calendars on this list, Outlook Calendar enables users to create multiple calendars and color-code them for easy organization. Users can add locations, set reminders, and view their schedules on the go from Android and iPhone mobile apps.
Outlook Calendar also integrates easily with email. Users can share their events and availability with contacts, plan meetings, invite attendees, collect RSVPs, and keep people updated. Outlook’s scheduling assistant feature allows users to find a suitable meeting time based on attendees’ availability, eliminating the hassle of back-and-forth emails.
Outlook Calendar supports multiple time zones, making it easier for users to schedule events with others in different parts of the world. Users can sync Outlook Calendar with other Microsoft applications, such as Skype and Microsoft Teams, to stay organized and communicate efficiently.
Integrate your online calendar with Wrike to improve team productivity
Wrike’s enterprise project management software stands out as a top choice for hybrid teams of all sizes looking to improve work visibility and optimize organizational productivity.
You can create a calendar using any of the options above and integrate easily with Wrike. Better yet, you can create your calendar in Wrike to take advantage of the platform’s powerful project management features.
- Time tracking: Wrike’s time tracking functionality helps teams and managers track and forecast how long each task assignment will take. This allows team members to estimate how long current tasks may take before booking appointments or taking on new tasks.
- Interactive Gantt charts: Wrike’s software is intuitive to use. You can simply drag and drop a task in the calendar to change due dates, and all other tasks dependent on the modified date will adjust to reflect the change.
- Templates: Wrike offers a library of templates, including a project schedule and monthly planner template, to help you better plan and organize your personal and team calendars.
There are even more benefits you gain by using the Wrike platform — simplifying your project and calendar management is only the start. Are you ready to improve collaboration and task management across your company? Get started with a free two-week trial of Wrike.