First thoughts on Microsoft FindTime

What is Find Time?

Planning a meeting can often become a burden for people as it can be difficult to find a time and date that all attendees can join, especially if you don’t have access to their calendar. Microsoft have now created a plug-in application that makes it easier to organise and schedule meetings with FindTime.

FindTime allows you to suggest intelligent dates and times for a meeting that would work best for the majority or all attendees of the meeting.  The attendees vote for the option that works best for them and once a consensus has been made FindTime will send a meeting invite to all on your behalf. This eliminates the tedious and time consuming task of going back and forth to decide on a meeting date.

How to use FindTime

To install the FindTime plug-in to your computer, visit: Log in to your Office 365 account with your usual details and the application will install.

Once this is installed, open your outlook application and start a new email (FindTime allows you to book a meeting without sending a calendar invite, you only need to send 1 email). You should now see a new plug in on your email ribbon named ‘New Meeting Poll’, this is the FindTime plug in.

Once you click this, you will be prompted to add the attendees to the email. As you add each individual, FindTime will automatically look through the attendee’s calendar and availability and will show any dates and times that suit all attendees.

You are now able to select dates and times that you would like to suggest. The plug in highlights each individual’s availability at that time in either green or orange. It is quite straightforward, green means they are available, orange they are not. The most appropriate times will be suggested first, with other’s then following after.

Once you have chosen the options that you feel are most suitable and you are ready to send the request to the recipients, click next.

The last step before you insert this application into your email is to edit the location of the event. FindTime will automatically insert ‘Online Meeting’ into the location, however you are able to change this to whatever you would like.

You are now ready to add this pole to the email.

The meeting pole times are now inserted into your email and unless there are any last minute changes you need to make, your FindTime request is now ready to send. The last part is the same as any normal email you just need to type out your subject line and any body text you want within the email and then you are ready to send your email and book a meeting with ease.

What will recipients receive?

Once you have sent the invite, the recipients will receive an email with the meeting suggestions in. Once they click the ‘Select options’ button they will be redirected to the FindTime schedule page where you can select your options.

You simply vote either ‘Yes, No or Prefer’ to each of the suggested times, click on submit and you are done. FindTime will then automatically select the best time to suit all attendees and will send the calendar invite.

I have personally found FindTime an extremely useful application that I regularly use when I am booking meetings with partners and others that I don’t have access to view their calendar. For me, it eases the process of booking meetings as it cuts out the process of asking when people are free or explaining my own availability, which saves time and also looks more professional. I personally find the feature of automatically sending a calendar invite to all attendees very useful as I have experienced this task being overlooked on more than one occasion, however, this ensures that this doesn’t happen and that there are no holes in the plan.