Account for breaks between meetings in outlook when planning
Chances are real that you have been working from home for a while now and that (like it is the case with me) your days are filled with online meetings. Those meetings are typically planned back to back, leaving no room for a little break. Those little breaks were typically inherent to switches between meeting rooms or even a little run to the bathroom.
The last few months, I found myself more and more in a situation where I had all day meetings without any sort of break in between to get me a coffee or to recharge mentally. In that context, I'm certainly not alone. I was thus not surprised to see that MicroSoft recently announced a new policy stating that 1h meetings will default to 55 minutes,
When I told a colleague about this policy, he told me that it was a good idea, but very difficult to achieve since Outlook always defaults to full timeslot meetings (30, 60, 90,... minutes) without taking into account this new notion.
I was thus quite surprised this morning when a colleague told me about that this setting in fact exists in outlook! And it is really easy to change the setting!
- Go to the outlook options: In outlook, click on File, then on options
- Click 'Calendar'
- In Calendar options, check the 'End appointments and meetings early' and specify the options for short and long meetings(typically 5 or 10 minute breaks). 👉 I kept the default
- That's it:
The result should be visible immediately when you plan a new meeting as can be seen below:
This little change will give you some time between meetings and it will save you from a lot frustrations!
- Make sure that your colleagues apply the same change so that all meetings are organized like this!
- The web client in Office365 has the same setting if this is your preferred working environment.
Edit: In order to encourage my colleagues to also work like this, I created an email signature in outlook that I apply when sending out a meeting invite. In case you need some inspiration, you can copy my text from the image below:
The text in case you want to copy it:
You might have noticed that this meeting ends (5-10 mins) earlier than usual. This is deliberate to give you (and me) some time before our next meeting so that you can take a short (coffee/restroom)break. In days filled with (virtual) back-to-back meetings I find that this is a welcome change! 👉 In case you are wondering to do this yourself in outlook, then I encourage you to take a look here where I wrote a short text about it.