Business owners should constantly be looking for technology to make their business and employees more productive. While computers and smart phones come with a calendar, it might not be the best option for you or your business. Thankfully, there isn't a shortage of other options. Shared calendar apps make it easier to collaborate with co-workers and schedule meetings.
A calendar is an incredibly important tool for any small business owner, freelancer, or entrepreneur. A well organised calendar is crucial for knowing where you need to be and what you need to be doing. Unless you’re in an incredibly fast-moving business, the odds are you’ll have to schedule some important calls days or even weeks in advance. You need a way to make sure that you remain free at the crucial times. It’s no good counting on your memory. This is where your calendar comes in.
Organizing your remote team's time and tasks is as equally important just like with any other team. You want to make them a part of your organization and show them their importance in the giant scope of things. Keep it simple. You’ll keep them motivated to do, avoid scheduling conflicts and optimize for productivity. Just a few pointers here, but let’s jump into some of the best calendar tools to organize, lead and keep your remote team productive, feeling good, well-informed and aspired to do more.
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Top Shared Calendar Apps
With all this in mind, we’re going to have a look at some of the best shared online calendar and scheduling apps available.
Google Calendar is the best shared calendar app online by default. It’s the go to. If you’re just looking for an online calendar, it’s the one to choose. There’s almost no reason not to. You can keep a public work calendar that everyone in the office sees and a private one that only you and your co-founder share online. There’s so much flexibility for you to use it how you like. Google Calendar can also serve as the back end to any other calendar you want to use. You can use services like IFTTT to push your reminders, memos, or anything else to your Google Calendar.
Google Calendar is also entirely platform agnostic. You can access it from any web browser. If your team all operates on different devices, then you can use it safe in the knowledge that everyone will be able to get it to work. To top it all off, Google Calendar is free as part of everyone’s Google Account. It’s also included in a Google Apps subscription so if you’re using that on your domain already to run your email, then you’re already paying for Google Calendar.
Calendly is automated scheduling software that works with your calendar to automatically check your availability. It claims to help schedule meetings without a lot of back-and-forth emails. Other features include the ability to schedule buffer time between meetings, time zone detection, compatibility with apps like Salesforce, GoToMeeting, and Zapier, and it grows with your team.
There is a free and a paid version. The free version allows you to use one category, while with the paid version, you can set up multiple categories. Plus, you can customize the URL. It’s favorite feature is that it syncs with Google Calendar, and you can schedule personal appointments in Google without updating your schedule on Calendly. The program also integrates with Outlook, Office 365 and iCloud calendar.
Microsoft’s Outlook Calendar
The big contender to Google’s calendar throne is Outlook. Outlook is a common calendar app, which makes it easy to use for business because it's familiar. If you have an Exchange, Office 365 or Outlook account, you can share your calendar with other users. You can also create additional calendars for specific projects and share it with co-workers. Outlook’s calendar feature set is very similar to Google’s but it also goes further.
It integrates with your email app so you can see them both together in one place. Office integration also lets you share attachments right from OneDrive, access contacts, and view LinkedIn profiles. The only place where Outlook really loses out to Google Calendar is in the price. Outlook is included as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 subscriptions which start at $6.99/month/user and it’s a pretty steep price to pay for a new calendar app when there are good free alternatives out there.
Asana is more than a shared calendar app. While it has calendar features, it also makes it easy to manage team projects and tasks. The Timeline feature shows every piece of a project, how it all fits together and helps you track changes. Asana has a mobile app and has more than 100 integrations.
Asana doesn't have a free plan, but it offers free trials and a lite version. Asana isn't just a calendar though, it's an enterprise resource planner that includes a shared calendar function, but it also provides other collaboration tools.
Apple’s iCloud Calendar
Apple Calendar is a great calendar option hamstrung by one thing: it works best on macOS and iOS. Like many Apple products, iCloud Calendar shines when it’s fully integrated. Maps will automatically suggest directions based on where your next event is, everything you have to do that day is visible in the Today view, and so on. You can do this on a Mac, but you can’t on an Android phone or PC.
If your entire team is using Macs, then iCloud Calendar is a great option. Its features are broadly the same as Google Calendar; it’s a simple calendar app without too many frills. On the other hand, if your team is using a range of different devices, then a good experience across all platforms is better than a great experience on one platform and an okay experience on all the others.
Calendar is a dynamic Calendar tailored for today’s fast-paced, global teams. Calendar harnesses the power of machine learning to give smart suggestions for when, where and how your meetings can take place. It makes it easy for global teams to collaborate and connect, by handling availability across time zones. It also intelligently categorizes project meetings to figure out the relationships between your plans and the people in your meetings. With gentle follow ups, Calendar makes sure everyone has RSVP to meeting invites so that they get confirmed quickly.
Whether you have 50 or 50,000 employees it’ll be easy to get everyone onboard. Simply connect your company domain to Calendar and your entire company will automatically be added to your Enterprise plan! In Calendar, meeting transcriptions will automatically be attached to your meeting details and shared across the entire team. Also, with Calendar Analytics, you can see exactly how much time you’re investing in specific meetings or at certain places. You can track who you’re devoting time to.
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Teamup offers shared calendars for groups to simplify organizing, scheduling and communication. Businesses can choose from both a free and paid plan. Further, Teamup offers a live demo of its software as well as a three-day trial so you can see for yourself if this app is a good fit for your team. Calendars are organized by color, and they can easily and securely be shared with other team members through a secure URL.
Unlike the other calendars on this list which are personal calendars you can share with other people, Teamup is designed from the ground up for groups. If you want an easy way to schedule meeting rooms, organize delivery trucks and out calls, schedule different crews, and basically do anything team related, it’s a great choice. It’s even used by NASA.
In reality, most people’s needs are met by either Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCloud Calendars. However, if your team needs something more niche, there are good options out there. For the most part, calendars and scheduling apps come bundled as part of other services but there are a few standalone (but paid) options. What calendar app do you use? What features do you find most essential? Is sharing with team members online critical or is it more important to easily sync your calendar across your devices? Please let us know in the comments section below.