I recently posted my Top 7 E-mail Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft on LinkedIn. I'd like to share some of those tricks here as well. Here is the first of several!
Many companies have a vacation calendar that can be accessed through Outlook. The problem with vacation calendars though, is that people have to go look at them for them to be useful. Here's how you can put your vacation on the calendar and notify those you work with in a meaningful but non-intrusive way:
a. Highlight the vacation time on your calendar, right-click on it and choose New Meeting Request:
b. Add your co-workers and vacation calendar to the recipient list and type in a subject that includes what it is (vacation) and your name. In the location box indicate that you'll be OOO (out of office):
c. Change the Free/Busy status to Free. This will ensure that when your coworkers accept the invitation it doesn't block off THEIR calendars. They'll see that you are out of the office but it won't affect their ability to schedule items during that time.
d. Click the Response Options button and uncheck Request Responses. This way the recipients of your invitation don't need to click to accept the invite and you don't receive back a response from them.
e. Click in the Reminder box and change the default (generally 15 minutes) to "None."
f. Click the Send button to send the invite. It should look like this on your calendar and theirs:
You just notified your coworkers and the vacation calendar that you would be on vacation and out of the office with minimal interruption to them and without affecting their own calendar availability.
You should note that this just notifies others about you being out of the office. If you want the your Outlook calendar to actually reserve the time as unavailable you will need to create a second, personal-only, calendar entry. Your calendar would look something like this if you do: