- A shared calendar app should be user-friendly and include straightforward scheduling and collaboration tools, sharing features, auto-sync, and cross-platform functionality.
- Excellent shared calendar apps include Asana, Calendly, Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, Teamup, iCloud and Thunderbird.
- Shared calendars can organize your team’s meeting presence and attendance, encourage transparency, streamline task management, and improve work-life balance.
- This article is for small business owners and managers who are looking for shared calendar apps.
Business owners constantly seek technology that boosts productivity, improves organization, and gets teams working together. Calendar apps are an excellent tech addition that can enhance communication and get your team on the same page. Though computers and smartphones often have built-in calendars, third-party calendar apps offer enhanced features that facilitate task management, automation, scheduling and more. We’ll share which features to look for in a calendar app and highlight seven excellent calendar app options.
What features should you look for in a shared calendar app?
When you’re considering shared business calendar apps, look for the following features:
- Ease of use. Shared calendar apps should be user-friendly and intuitive, with minimal navigation and maintenance required. They should also make the collaboration process smooth and straightforward.
- Simple scheduling tools. A shared calendar’s primary function is to organize everyone’s schedules, so scheduling should be easy. For example, look for functionality that lets you check co-workers’ availability at a glance. Other helpful tools include customization features, multiple-calendar availability, and time- and location-based reminders.
- Collaboration and sharing features. Look for the ability to share availability, event invitations and calendars with your team. You’ll also want to collaborate on events, calendars, and documents or projects shared within the app.
- Automatic syncing. Auto-syncing is an excellent time-saving tool. Ideally, any shared calendar updates will sync with your account and the accounts of anyone else involved. Many calendar apps feature automatic syncing and integration with other apps.
- Cross-platform availability. Not everyone has the same platform, so cross-platform availability is a huge plus. It eliminates the need for multiple apps across platforms while keeping everyone on the same page regardless of the device they use.
Tip: If your team needs help working together in a hybrid office-remote setup, consider implementing collaboration tools such as Zoho Meeting, ClickMeeting, Fuze and Microsoft Teams.
7 best shared calendar apps
If you need a calendar app to use across your entire company, consider these seven options. All of these apps have helpful features, and business owners across different industries highly recommend them.
Asana is more than a shared calendar app; it also makes it effortless to manage team projects and tasks. The Timeline feature shows all project segments and how they fit together, and tracks changes as you go. Asana also features a mobile app and more than 100 integrations. There is a free plan, as well as paid plans that unlock additional features.
“Asana isn’t just a calendar. … It’s an enterprise resource planner that includes a shared calendar function, but it also provides other collaboration tools we require,” said David Alexander, a designer, developer and digital marketer at Mazepress. “The pro of this approach includes having task management, communication and reporting tools all within a single interface. … Put simply, it’s one of the tools I couldn’t live without.”
Calendly is an automated scheduling platform that works with your calendar to check your availability automatically. It helps to schedule meetings without endless back-and-forth emails. Other features include buffer time between meetings, time zone detection, and compatibility with apps such as Salesforce and GoTo Meeting. [Find out more about these apps by reading our review of Salesforce and our GoTo Meeting review.]
“I use Calendly. I like to set up my podcast interviews,” said Michelle Ngome, a fractional diversity marketing consultant. “There is a free and a paid version. The free version allows you to use one category, while [with] the paid version, you can set up multiple categories. Plus, you can customize the URL.”
Ngome said her favorite feature is that Calendly syncs with Google Calendar, allowing her to schedule personal appointments in Google without updating her Calendly schedule. The app also integrates with Outlook, Office 365 and Apple’s iCloud calendar.
Google Calendar is an integrated online calendar designed for teams. This calendar integrates seamlessly with other Google products, including Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Meet. You can access this app on computers, tablets and phones.
“I use the Google Calendar app to book all my appointments with clients,” said Ana Santos, senior design program manager at Talkdesk. “It’s also handy for video meetings because it syncs with Google [Meet] if we assign a video conferencing option to the event.”
Santos’ favorite feature is Google Calendar’s ability to sync your calendar across all devices and browsers if you’re logged in with your Google account.
Credit: Google Play Store
Did you know?: Google Calendar has even more functionality when you use Google Calendar hidden tips and tricks, such as hiding your inactive hours, working with keyboard shortcuts and managing your tasks.
Microsoft Outlook is a well-known personal information manager app that includes email, calendar functions, scheduling, task management and more. If you have a Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 or Outlook account, you can share your calendar with others. You can also create additional calendars for specific projects and share them with co-workers.
Teamup offers shared calendars for groups to simplify organization, scheduling and communication. Businesses can choose from free and paid plans. Teamup also offers a live demo and a three-day trial, so you can see for yourself if this app is a good fit for your team.
This program was built specifically for groups. The calendars are easy to use; they’re organized by color and can easily and securely be shared with other team members through a secure URL.
“I spent ages looking for a good shared calendar to manage events and holidays for a spread-out team of people,” said Ben Taylor, founder of homeworkingclub.com. “I eventually opted for … Teamup. It gave me the ability to set up lots of different event categories, [it] allowed staff to pull their choice of calendars into their own software using ICS feeds, and [it] even comes with an app for iOS and Android.”
Credit: Teamup Solutions AG
iCloud isn’t just for storage; it also features an easy-to-use calendar that integrates with any Apple device. The iCloud calendar app allows your team to schedule meetings, share information and communicate with ease. You can also toggle your calendar view to “Today” to view your daily tasks and projects at a glance. The functionality is straightforward and very similar to Google’s calendar, making it a popular choice.
But there’s one downside to this app: Like most Apple products, it loses a lot of functionality on non-Apple devices. Overall, this calendar app is a good choice if your entire team uses Apple products.
Source: Apple Inc.
Did you know?: If you’re debating between iOS vs. Android for your business apps and devices, keep in mind that if you’re already enmeshed in one company’s products, it makes sense to stick with that operating system.
Thunderbird Lightning Calendar
Thunderbird Lightning Calendar is one of the most powerful calendar apps for Linux users, though it also features Windows and Mac capabilities. Thunderbird’s display includes tabs for your email, calendar and tasks, and users can easily navigate between these tabs to communicate and stay organized throughout the day.
The calendar offers several views, including a summary of everything on your schedule for a single day and a search function with time filters and preset event categories. Lightning Calendar integrates seamlessly with Thunderbird and SeaMonkey email services.
While it’s not the fanciest shared calendar app on the list, Thunderbird Lightning Calendar is a helpful all-in-one tool to keep you and your team on track.
Benefits of using shared calendar apps
Here are some of the top advantages of using shared calendar apps:
- Improved meeting organization. Your shared calendar view can show you whether team members have RSVP’d to any business meetings to which you’ve invited them. If not, you can follow up – often directly from the app – to get a final answer. This way, if you’re meeting with clients, you can present a more unified front with a larger group and hold a more productive video conference or in-person meeting.
- Transparency. Knowing when your team members are available or unavailable can help you hold everyone accountable while respecting boundaries. Task-based calendars can tell your employees what they should work on and when, and remind you how you’ve divided everyone’s work. Employees can make themselves available during their most productive work times so managers can schedule crucial tasks for when they’re most likely to be accomplished.
- Better work-life balance. Employees can mark themselves as out of the office on the calendar app when they’re not working. This way, you or other employees don’t contact them while they’re trying to maintain their work-life balance.
- Task management and delegation. If you see that a specific employee’s calendar is full, you’ll know to delegate responsibility to others. If everyone’s calendar is packed and all tasks are assigned, you’ll know you’ve been using your calendar correctly.
Boost workplace collaboration and time management
Shared calendar apps improve collaboration and time management within teams and across your company. Most devices and email accounts come with these calendars, so it’s incredibly easy to start and continue using them. All of the apps we’ve listed above are great options with excellent reviews from business leaders.
Max Freedman and Saige Driver contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.