Marc Hedlund's Blog

I Hate Shared Calendars (at Work)

I wrote this to a coworker just now, and it feels like something everyone should agree with me about. Please be persuaded:

I don’t use Google Calendar nor any shared calendar - but I do receive your invitations and despite missing [a recent meeting] I am usually good at responding to meeting requests. I saw your request just now and am happy to attend that meeting.

I don’t like the idea of shared calendars at all. If the calendar says I’m free and you put a meeting in it, does that really mean I’m free? Usually that assumption leads to conflicts and missed meetings. A blank space on my calendar might mean that I am using that time to write or to talk to people individually. Blank != available for me, and I think that is good. Also, I hate meetings, so I want it to be a little harder to get meetings set up. “Easy to create a meeting” is a bug, not a feature, in my opinion. :)

In my opinion there is no substitute for calling or emailing and saying, “Hey, can you join us for this?”

But - I will be sure I send you replies to your meeting requests promptly. I am not trying to prevent you from getting your job done; I am trying to make sure I spend the least amount of time in meetings possible, and that when I am scheduled for a meeting I have really confirmed that I am available.

I should say, I feel this way at work, not at home. My wife and I use a shared Backpack calendar and it’s been a huge help. We use it for social planning, appointments, reminders, and important dates. I bet that shared calendars could work well with any group that is small and shares a very high level of trust and respect. I just usually don’t find those are the prerequisites when companies start using shared calendars. Maybe the lack of those prerequisites is the the real problem at work – in this and other areas.