Despite being an essential part of modern life, mainly because remote work is becoming more common, most people are not fans of online calendars. And, that’s a share. After all, employees can use them to stay organized, and bosses use them to keep track of what gets done.
Sadly, most of the time, the work getting done is just calendar management. As a result, it’s not uncommon for employees to fill up their half-hour boxes with tasks, meetings, and personal responsibilities. But even after that, coworkers, clients, and bosses take it from you. As a result, previously productive days turn into a haphazard series of meetings and quick breaks, with little actual work being accomplished.
As such, it’s not surprising that some employees may resist using online calendars. But, you can change that. How? By encouraging your team to keep their online calendars.
1. Take the lead.
To succeed in any initiative, you need to lead by example. When leaders are willing to walk with their employees through changes, employees are much more likely to follow their guidance.
In the words of leadership speaker John Maxwell, “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” By taking the plunge first, leaders show that it’s safe for others.
Before introducing an online calendar to others, you should start using it yourself. Then you can sell it to others. In my opinion, that’s highlighting the advantages of online calendars, such as;
- Online calendars can easily be accessed from any device.
- The ability to schedule meetings and appointments from anywhere.
- You can also set up reminders to prevent missing important meetings and appointments.
- By scheduling time to complete important projects, you can complete those which are a priority or have a deadline. In short, online calendars can be used for staying on track and getting things done.
- Regular meetings and appointments can be set as recurring events to avoid calendar conflicts.
Seeing you work more productively will encourage your employees to use your online Calendar, too.
At the same time, also share the benefits of online calendars outside the workplace. For instance, managing a family scheduling or planning a fun event like a pool party.
2. Provide customized training.
“Training needs to cater to the individual if you want your employees to accept it,” writes Beth Thornton for Inspire Software. “Your efforts should reflect the diverse backgrounds of your diverse workforce.” No two people are the same, so make sure you cater to what makes them different.
“While some employees favor online courses, others prefer personal, one-on-one coaching,” adds Thornton. “The key to inspiring enthusiasm and interest in the learning and development software is to present it as an opportunity for employees to learn skills and gain competitive advantage in their professional careers.”
When developing your training strategy, you should consider:
- How should I train my employees?
- Which employees or departments?
- What about different learning styles?
- Is there a reward system for training completion?
- Can I realistically expect adoption?
To help you get started with your software onboarding strategy, here are some to-do’s:
- First, find out what kind of training is most comfortable for your team.
- Highlight the benefits of an online calendar.
- Customize your incentives.
- Establish a training completion schedule (with goals).
- Promote learning at all levels.
- Finally, apply new calendar skills to real-life projects.
3. Offer opportunities for practice.
It’s imperative that your team practice the critical features of an online calendar if they’re going to use it professionally. So have them practice on you rather than their clients or colleagues. Moreover, be sure to let them know you’re happy to help if they have questions later.
However, to make this meeting more productive, here are some ways for both of you to prepare.
- Invite them to meet with you. An online calendar makes scheduling meetings a breeze. Gone are the days of emailing back and forth. Instead, you can simply ask your team to add it to the Calendar.
- Ask for an analytics report. Users can see how and with whom they spend their time on some calendars. Ask team members to share a breakdown of their meetings after scheduling a few. They need to understand the reporting features of their online Calendar if they are to make the most of it.
- Invite them to color-code. Color-coding allows you to quickly glance at your Calendar’s information. Give them an idea of what different colors mean, and let them choose a scheme they like.
4. Start with fun events.
Boost your team’s adoption by making it fun. After all, everyone likes to be included. For example, make it known that the company calendar is the only way they will receive information about company culture events, like parties and team-building activities.
You can begin adding the not-so-fun stuff once employees are already using the online Calendar. After that, introduce tasks, deadlines, and meetings gradually. It won’t be long until all company events can be viewed on the online Calendar.
5. Take advantage of gamification.
“The concept of gamification in the workplace involves incorporating challenges and tasks to make work more engaging,” explains Calendar co-founder John Hall. “Employees are rewarded with it as a way to make work more enjoyable and meaningful for them.”
It should be understood that gamification is not designed to turn work into a game, he explains. “Instead, the concept combines game mechanics with work responsibilities to increase productivity and make your job more interesting.” Employee engagement can even influence employees to focus on the company’s greater good.
Examples of gamification in the workplace include:
- Instead of using presentations or manuals, a web-based mini-course can be used to train employees with quizzes, fun characters, and assessments.
- Certificates will be awarded to employees who complete an online course.
- Friendly competition can improve employee engagement and productivity. A points-based leaderboard can be used to achieve this.
- Instantaneous recognition through social media.
- Travel incentives, such as attending an industry event.
You must, however, track your progress to ensure good gamification. As a result, you can track your progress and see how far you still have to go, says Hunter Meine in a previous Calendar article. “A record of your progress will also help you adjust the difficulty of your gamification as your productivity improves and you need an extra challenge.”
“You can track your progress using your Calendar or by writing it down manually,” he adds. To fully take part in the game, you can create some fun graphs and designs on a planner or poster board. “Even making notes on your phone will be better than neglecting to track anything.”
6. Don’t be a “controlling” boss.
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Employees hate micromanagement. Specifically, micromanagement has been found to increase turnover and disengage employees. Besides that, it stifles creativity, innovation, trust, and teamwork.
What does that have to do with the team’s online calendars? Well, don’t be too demanding. For example, asking your employees to share their calendars with you is alright. But, they also don’t need to share their entire Calendar with you.
“Certainly, privacy could be an issue for successful calendar sharing,” writes Kayla Sloan in an article for Calendar. “But many people merge work and personal calendars without issue.”
As a result, most calendars “have settings that let you make some entries private and others shared.” That way, sensitive information is protected from prying eyes.
“However, not all calendars have the same capabilities,” adds Sloan. “Therefore, you can permit everyone to see personal appointments, make entries vague, or not put them on work calendars.”
Additionally, you should let your employees customize their calendars. Employees can, for example, adjust the view from week to month or agenda if sharing a Google Calendar. Besides changing colors and titles, they can also choose which items they want to display.
7. Remember to be courteous.
“Courtesy is contagious – let’s start an epidemic.” — Evan Esar
Civility and forward-thinking should be at the forefront of your Calendar. How? By encouraging online calendar protocol.
- Use the right tools. Ideally, you should use a calendar that is accessible on multiple platforms. In addition, you should use tools that seamlessly integrate with your Calendar. When you do, this improves communication and usage.
- Step up your scheduling game. Creating an easy-to-use scheduling experience is the best way to encourage online calendar etiquette, among others. Examples would be responding to invites, including locations, and adding notes.
- It’s okay to say no. However, ensure your team knows that just because they received an invite doesn’t mean they have to accept it. There are plenty of times when you should say “no.”
- Live by the golden rule. In other words, treat everyone with respect. That means not making last-minute changes, showing up on time, and not micromanaging.
8. Sell online calendars strategically.
We all have those standout employees. You know, the people everyone trusts and looks up to. If you get their support, they’ll help promote online calendars like Thryv Calendar, Cron Calendar, or Calendar.
It’s one thing for your boss to tell you to use an online calendar. Hearing it from someone you respect is another story.
Talented employees will likely take advantage of technologies that make their job easier, such as online calendars. And they will tell others why they should use them, too.
Image Credit: Campus Productions; Pexels; Thank you!
Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. Former Editor-in-Chief and writer at Startup Grind. Freelance editor at Entrepreneur.com. Deanna loves to help build startups, and guide them to discover the business value of their online content and social media marketing.