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June 03, 2020
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Can Calendly Enhance Your Virtual Meetings?

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By Paige Jones

When our normal way of life shifts, a new part of our brain activates – The Innovator. The Innovator inside all of us is hard at work, piecing together new methods to problem solve. We get creative about applying the tools we have in new and interesting ways. 

The Calendly Community has been using our meeting scheduling tool to solve all sorts of challenges using ideas we’ve never seen before. Here are some of the ways your fellow Calendly users are scheduling virtual meetings to stay the course and stay social.

1. Birthday Parties

Little one is celebrating a birthday while we’re all sheltered in place? These parents used Calendly to schedule times where their child’s friends could stop by and wish her a happy birthday while keeping a safe distance. 

Heather Furnas, or “Mom” as she’s called, says, “We used Calendly to schedule times for our birthday girl to get visits to her ‘fairy tale tower.’ She got to see her friends and still keep physical distancing!

“I am so grateful we found a way to make it possible to see her friends throughout the day. Everyone just signed up for their own 15-minute time slot and there was an automatic buffer before the next sign-up time [to keep visitors a safe distance apart]. It worked so well! Her friends made signs, they sang her songs. And they yelled, ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!’”

Oh – did we mention Heather crafted a Rapunzel braid too? According to Dad Bob Proehl, Heather spent three days making a 25ft braid out of yarn.

2. Virtual Classroom Time and Advising Appointments

One new challenge parents and teachers are facing is how to connect children to educators from home. 

Zoom has released the 40-minute time limit on free Basic accounts for K-12 schools affected by COVID-19, allowing students to work with their teachers and classmates through video conferencing. Calendly is offering free integrations with Zoom and GoToMeeting accounts through June

With these combined tools, educators are working with parents and students to set up virtual classroom time. We’ve seen 1:1 lessons, like tuba practice, and whole-classroom video show & tell hours. 

In fact, education employees have been joining the Calendly Community 4x faster this month than ever before, and we love seeing how creative you are with Calendly!   

Trevor Hershberger, who uses Calendly to schedule all-important face-to-face time with his high school English students, urges other K-12 teachers to “give themselves permission to show grace both to their students and to themselves because the priority for everyone right now is not content coverage but social, emotional, psychological and physical wellness of students and teachers.”

Higher-ed professors, advisors, financial aid officers and faculty members are also scheduling 1:1 meetings with students to keep projects, research and curriculum on track. 

Developmental Psychologist and Assistant Professor at Wingate University, Dr. Candace Lapan is using Calendly to schedule 1:1 meetings with students:

“It’s difficult to choose a blanket solution when talking about continuing education through the public health crisis,” says Lapan. 

“All students learn in different ways, and have different limitations and preferences during this time. So, I polled my students to see if it would be best for them to try and host scheduled virtual classes, use discussion posts to talk through content on our own time, record video modules for on-demand viewing or offer individual ‘office hours’ for those who request it. 

I ended up offering all of the above! Calendly and Zoom have made it possible to hold virtual meetings with students who aren’t able to attend lectures, but would still like face-to-face time to ask questions.

Calendly in particular makes it easy and seamless to schedule appointments with everyone’s vastly different schedules, while also saving time by eliminating a bunch of back and forth scheduling emails. This allows me to have more time to focus on my students.”

3. PE, Physical Therapy and Personal Training

This crew is dedicated to keeping us moving, active and positive. 

Physical education teachers, personal trainers and physical therapists are using Calendly to schedule live webinars where students can join exercise classes virtually, or patients and clients can receive one-on-one training. 

Bob Knipe, an advocate for Health and Physical Education and educator in the University of Texas College of Education Curriculum and Instruction Department, encourages us to “lay down healthy habits – teachers for their students, and parents for their children – that will carry into life post quarantine and for a lifetime.”

“We are challenged to live our lives in a new way during these times,” says Knipe. Part of that adaptation is scheduling regular check-ins with people to encourage activity and recreation. The other part of that adjustment is also finding time to communicate with colleagues amidst all the one-on-one scheduling. 

Knipe points out, “Trying to manage meetings with administration and colleagues is challenging because it causes us to have to juggle many calendars when trying to find time to visit with students. Calendly puts choosing the time that is best for the student in their hands and automatically checks all my calendars for my availability. Trying to do this for all students on my own would dedicate time to managing it all instead of being with students.”

4. Coffee Chats, Playdates, Happy Hours, Game Nights and Lunches

We’ve heard you! We see those links you’re sharing for “Sanity Check-Ins” and “Virtual Coffee Chats” and “Socially Distant Heart-to-Hearts!” 

Finding time to connect is hard, so many of you are using Calendly to find time in each other’s days to take a breather, say hi to someone’s dog, and remember we’re all in this together.

We’ve even noticed some of you using Calendly to schedule virtual playdates for your kids, and times for your kids to meet and interrogate your coworkers. 

This shared experience is leaving us all in a new, vulnerable state, so getting to share your thoughts and life experiences with your colleagues and loved ones is all-important. Hearing about how you all pop into each other’s calendars just to say hey is so inspiring. It’s how we take care of each other. 

And sometimes, you don’t want to bare your feelings anymore and you just want a break to be silly with your friends. We’ve noticed an uptick in Calendly-scheduled Happy Hours and Game Nights! 

Out-of-office camaraderie is as crucial as ever! Find some time to raise a glass or play charades. 

We’re doing this too! We met for some shared laughs and drinks to celebrate a huge landmark for Calendly on a virtual Happy Hour. We’ve scheduled virtual lunch hours with our teams because we make it a priority to connect with our teammates on every level.

Cheers!

5. Fast Staffing

Recruiters and staffing teams have used Calendly for interview scheduling for as long as we’ve been around, but new circumstances have left some industries with the need to hire many people as fast as possible. 

For example, companies that used international support channels are looking to find remote employees with the equipment to take calls and respond to chat from home. As more people across the globe move from offices to homes, for some organizations, this might mean a new need to rehire thousands of people who have the ability to work from home. 

A company we’ve talked to is filling 5,000 support roles from international agencies who aren’t able to work remotely with people who can work remotely in under 30 days.

The healthcare industry has also seen a 35% increase in job postings recently to help care for those who are ill. 

Multiply all those job postings by phone screening anywhere from 34 - 119 candidates per hire, multiply that by the average number of emails it takes to schedule a meeting - 8 - and multiply that by the amount of rounds you’ll talk to each candidate…

...And you’re looking at a lot of time recruiting teams could be applying their skills to sourcing top talent instead of all that time conducting manual admin work. 

It may be a longstanding application of Calendly, but it’s a brand new situation - and we love the innovation. 

6. Dance Parties and Dance Lessons

Yep - even dance parties. When it’s on your calendar, you can’t say no. 

Dance teachers are even using the Calendly + Zoom integration to gather their ballerinas, tappers, and hip hop dancers together to break it down from the living room. 

7. Banking Hours By Appointment

We’ve talked to several of our Calendly Community members in the banking industry to help them solve their new circumstances - many branches are temporarily closed. 

What they’ve come up with is to embed Calendly on their website. This allows bank members to schedule a time to meet with their agent by appointment, and meet at the open locations with just a handful of people at a time as needed.

8. Salon Consultations

For professionals who need you in person to work their magic - barbers, nail artists, and hair professionals - Calendly is the gateway for a virtual consultation.

Many grooming professionals are asking clients to schedule virtual appointments via Calendly to get advice on upkeep and care in between visits. 

And, these are people in our lives that know and care a lot about us. It’s nice to check in with our neighborhood pillars who work so hard to take care of us.

Connecting with Calendly

As our friends at Mailchimp put it, “Meeting the needs of this moment will require patience, compassion, and creativity—and remembering that we’re all in this together.”

Thanks to our essential workers and healthcare professionals for keeping us going. If anyone working on Coronavirus research, response, or mitigation would like free access to our premium plan Calendly account, please email covidresearch@calendly.com

Use the hashtag on social to share how you’re using Calendly to stay connected during this time!

Paige Jones

Paige Jones

Paige Jones works on marketing content for Calendly. She spends her time at home covered in flour, craft supplies, or cat hair. Always cat hair.

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