I do a lot of demos of SharePoint and I often notice that it takes a wee while for people to understand the benefit of a team calendar.
Once they understand that calendars in SharePoint are for groups and teams, rather than the individual calendar you use in Outlook or your mail client, there’s an ‘aha moment’ as they grasp just how much business information can be shared and communicated using a team calendar.
Utilising SharePoint Calendars
When I’m developing SharePoint intranets, I tend to display a team calendar on many of the sites and subsites I create.
It’s obvious that a generic calendar on the Home page can display things that all staff care about; a nice mix of business and personal such as birthdays, starters and leavers, high level project dates, upcoming audits, even days when the electrician is on site to fiddle with the air con.
There’s also a case for a calendar of learning events and certifications due on the Training site, key milestones on the Project site calendar, useful reminders on the Health and Safety site, and Board meetings and strategic planning days on the Board site calendar.
You can also use SharePoint calendars for resource bookings, such as vehicles, the data projector, car park spaces, shared laptops and any other resource that’s shared by many staff.
The only downside to a Calendar on your site’s home page is the amount of space it takes up when displayed in the traditional grid view.
Changing how the Calendar is viewed
While it’s important to use the grid view on the Home page (so that all users can easily see what’s going on), you can be subtler with the calendar display on other pages by taking advantage of the many views that SharePoint provides.
Your Administrator or Developer can easily change the webpart view of a calendar to just display upcoming events, and gain back precious real estate on the page by using a succinct list view instead of the calendar grid view.
And don’t forget, users can set alerts on a calendar item that they want to keep track of, so if the Expo date changes they can be automatically notified. You can also use workflows to manage approvals for ‘events’ like annual leave and time in lieu.
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