Google Calendar Working and Location statuses
Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

Google Workspace tools can help you keep your colleagues aware of when you work and what your availability might be. Configure your working hours in Google Calendar, so when people request a meeting outside your selected hours, they either will be notified, or the meeting will be declined.

Properly configured working hours can be essential when you work with people in different time zones. Set your Google Chat status to your current activity: Statuses of “in a meeting,” “coffee break” or “on a deadline” each convey different levels of interruptibility.

Where you work can also be important since the number and type of people nearby varies when you work from home, an office, a client site or a coffee shop. You may specify your working location in Google Calendar to let people who can access your free or busy information know where you’ll be on any particular day. This location information may make it easier to coordinate in-person encounters and gatherings.

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While a Google Workspace administrator may manage settings that control whether working location information is required or encouraged in an organization, each person retains full control over the specific location information shared. Details for both are covered below, and, in every case, these steps assume people access Google Calendar on the web from a computer.

Working location and related administrative controls are available only to customers with Google Workspace Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Plus; Education Fundamentals, Standard and Plus; the Teaching and Learning Upgrade; and G Suite Business editions.

How to set your working location in Google Calendar

You can configure default working locations for every day of the week in Google Calendar settings. This may be especially useful if you work from specific locations on a regular schedule. To configure your standard working locations:

  1. Go to Google Calendar on the web.
  2. Select Settings icon, then Settings.
  3. In the left menu, select Working hours & location (in General).
  4. Select each day of the week you want to be active.
  5. For each day, select the dropdown option under Working Location (Figure A). Select a site, such as your default office location, Home, Unspecified, Another office or Somewhere else (to enter an additional location).

Figure A

Google Calendar configuring routine working locations
Image: Google. Configure routine working location for any day of the week in Google Calendar Settings > Working hours & location.

When you are finished, return to the Google Calendar main page. Your default working location should display below the date (above your hourly schedule) for each day.

You may change a working location for any day. Either click on the displayed working location below a day to access the +Change working location options, or select the +Create button in the upper left area of the screen followed by Working location (Figure B). In either case, you may then modify the working location for a day or range of days.

Figure B

Google Calendar creating a Working location
Image: Google. Adjust your working location in Google Calendar on the web, either from the +Create menu (left) or by clicking on a working location displayed below a date (right).

How to manage working location options for a Google Workspace organization

A Google Workspace administrator can control whether the working location option displays as a Google Calendar setting for some or all people in the organization. Additionally, the administrator may choose whether to display a banner in Google Calendar on the web that prompts people to set a working location. To manage these Working location options:

  1. Go to the Google Workspace Admin Console and sign-in if prompted.
  2. Then, select Apps > Google Workspace > Calendar > Sharing settings.
  3. Optional: You may select an organization unit, if you want to apply the settings only to a specific set of accounts. Otherwise, by default, the settings apply across the organization.
  4. Within the Sharing settings Working location section, make sure the checkbox is set next to Allow users to set their daily working location.
  5. Next, you may select from several options to encourage people to set a working location (Figure C). In most cases, I recommend you select the checkbox next to Calendar shows a banner to users who haven’t set their working location, then select appropriate banner frequency and banner text options, depending on your organization’s policies and circumstances.
  6. When finished, select Save to apply your changes.

Figure C

Google Calendar working location settings
Image: Google. A Google Workspace administrator may allow people to set a working location, as configured in Google Calendar Sharing Settings > Working location. An administrator also may choose to display a banner to encourage people to set a working location.

Separately, if you are an administrator, you may want to let people know the reasons to configure a working location as part of your regular communications and technology updates notices to people in your organization. Prompt and consistent configuration of a working location by respected leaders in an organization can help spur broader adoption of the practice among all employees.

What’s your experience with working location?

How do most people in your organization use working hours, chat status and working location? Do you find the combination of these three settings to be helpful to enable meetings and conversations during appropriate times? Has sharing your working location information facilitated meeting with colleagues who happen to be in the same site? Message or mention me on Twitter (@awolber) to let me know how you and your team use these settings.

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